COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado General Assembly passed a bill that prohibits jails with over 400 beds from involuntarily placing an inmate in restrictive housing under certain conditions starting July 1.

HB21-1211 requires a medical or mental health professional to assess any individual placed in restrictive housing within 24 hours of placement. Correctional facilities will need to use an adequate screening tool to complete a health screening of each inmate when they arrive at the facility. Jails are also required to maintain a record of each individual placed in restrictive housing and information regarding their mental illness or substance use disorders.

If the inmate meets any one of the following conditions, it is unlawful to place them in restrictive housing:

  • The individual has an intellectual or developmental disability and is diagnosed with a serious mental illness.
  • The individual is exhibiting grossly abnormal and irrational behaviors, breaks with reality, or breaks in perceptions of reality indicating the presence of a serious mental illness.
  • The individual has self-reported a serious mental illness, suicidality, or is exhibiting self-harm. (This does not apply if a licensed mental health professional or psychiatrist evaluates the individual and finds serious mental illness is not present.)
  • The individual has a significant auditory or visual impairment that cannot otherwise be accommodated.
  • The individual is pregnant or in the postpartum period.
  • The individual is significantly neurocognitively impaired by a condition such as dementia or a traumatic brain injury.
  • The individual is under 18 years of age.

The prohibition does not apply if:

  • Any indication of psychological distress is present and the jail transferred the individual to a health-care facility to receive treatment and the individual refused treatment or was discharged by the health-care facility.
  • The individual poses an imminent danger to themselves or others.
  • No other less restrictive option is available and the individual is not responding to ongoing de-escalation techniques.