Del. Patrick Hope

Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) speaks before members of the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns on Feb. 9, 2018.

It took a year longer than boosters hoped, but a measure requiring the collection of data on Virginia prisoners in solitary confinement is now law.

Gov. Northam has signed bills patroned by Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) and state Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-35th) directing the Virginia Department of Corrections to provide the data to the governor and General Assembly each year.

Saslaw had introduced a similar measure in the 2018 session, but it was held over to 2019. This session, his bill (and Hope’s) won unanimous support in each house of the legislature after a conference committee ironed out some specifics.

Virginia law defines solitary confinement as being held outside the general population for 22 or more hours per day. It is used for discipline and to protect those in custody.