On Feb. 12, 2020 the Governor signed LB 230, a bill which significantly limits solitary for youth. The law is a result of a four year advocacy campaign. Under the law, which is far more protective than the previously passed LB 686 (2019), any solitary confinement longer than one hour must be documented and approved by the facility administrator and must be released “immediately upon regaining sufficient control so as to no longer engage in behavior that threatens substantial and immediate risk of harm to self or others.” Within one business day, the facility must notify the child’s parents and attorney. Solitary is termed “room confinement,” which is defined as,” the involuntary restriction of a juvenile placed alone in a cell, alone in a room, or alone in another area, including a juvenile’s own room, except during normal sleeping hours.”


A new report from the inspector general of Nebraska child welfare shows that 631 youngsters were put in room confinement during the year that ended June 30. The youth were put in solitary a total of 2,683 times anywhere from 15 minutes to 114 days.  This is the third annual report by the  inspector general required by legislation in 2017. The state has made little progress since the first report in 2017, which showed that 664 youths were placed in room confinement a total of 2,371 times in the year ending June 30, 2017. There are also significant racial disparities in the use of solitary. Though people of color represent about four out of 20 Nebraskans, the latest available data indicates 14 in 20 incidents of juvenile room confinement involve a youth of color.