About Us

The goal of the Open MI Door campaign is to end solitary confinement in all Michigan prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities, bringing our state into full compliance with the UN’s Mandela Rules. Solitary confinement, also known as segregation, isolation, or social and sensory deprivation (SSD), is defined as: isolated confinement for more than 20 hours per day without meaningful human contact. We define solitary for youth as involuntary confinement alone in a cell, room, or other area for more than 4 hours (outside of sleeping time).

In pursuit of this goal, we seek to affect policies and practices that:

  • Eliminate indefinite or prolonged isolation in all its forms and for all people;
  • Limit short-term isolation to 15 days or less, and to extreme cases where it is needed to protect the safety of incarcerated persons and corrections staff;
  • Ban isolation entirely for youth ages 21 and under;
  • Ban isolation for people with psychiatric or physical disabilities; cognitive or
  • sensory impairment; elders over the age of 55; pregnant women and new mothers;
  • Prohibit the use of isolation for individuals who have any medical or mental health conditions that might be exacerbated by such placement;
  • Prohibit the use of isolation as a form of protective custody for vulnerable groups such as individuals who identify as LGBTQI;
  • Prohibit the use of isolation as punishment;
  • Prohibit mandatory use of isolation due to crime of conviction;
  • Replace the practice of isolation with humane, safe, and effective alternatives; and
  • Ensure transparency, accountability, and independent oversight in the use of isolation and in conditions of confinement in general.

Statement of Principles

  1. Our prisons, jails and juvenile detention facilities are a reflection of our values as a society and a nation, and should uphold human rights and respect the dignity and worth of all people.
  2. Solitary confinement is a reflection and a measure of a wider punitive culture within the criminal justice system. Working to end solitary confinement helps challenge this culture, and the incarceration crisis it has created. We support reforms that seek to transform the culture, policies, and practices that are the underpinnings of mass incarceration.
  3. We believe it is necessary to center the work of ending solitary confinement around the voices of those directly impacted, including solitary survivors - inside and outside of prison - and their families.
  4. People of color are disproportionately subjected to solitary confinement, over and beyond their disproportionate representation in the general prison population. Ending solitary confinement requires navigation and resolution of these inequities and the racial bias driving them.
  5. An overwhelming body of evidence shows that solitary confinement causes extreme and often permanent damage to the individuals who endure it.
  6. Vulnerable and marginalized populations are exceptionally at risk in solitary confinement, including people with intellectual or physical disabilities, cognitive or sensory impairment, youth and people over age 55, pregnant women and new mothers, and people who identify as LGBTQI.
  7. Families, especially children, are harmed by severely limiting their ability to maintain connections with a loved one in solitary confinement.
  8. Solitary confinement increases the risk of prison violence, placing corrections officers directly in harm’s way and negatively impacting officers’ mental health.
  9. Humane, effective, and safe alternatives exist for all uses of solitary confinement within all segments of the prison population.
  10. Numerous other states have already implemented policy changes to reduce or end their use of solitary confinement.
  11. Our prisons and communities will be safer by offering more therapeutic treatment options that drive down recidivism.
  12. Change on this issue may happen one prison system at a time, and it may not come quickly or easily—but we are approaching a tipping point.