The following statement regarding Porter v. Clarke may be attributed to ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga:
"The ACLU of Virginia applauds today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case of Porter v. Clarke. The decision supports our amicus argument that temporary relief of harsh, inhumane conditions in a state prison is not enough to cast aside a legal claim of unconstitutional treatment."
The lawsuit stemmed over state Department of Corrections’ practices including keeping people confined in barely furnished, 71-square-foot cells for up to 23 hours per day, restricting family visits to non-contact only, and limiting of recreation time to one hour in an outdoor cell five days a week. The Virginia Department of Corrections had changed its policies to offer some relief after the lawsuit was filed. However, it provided no assurances that it would not reverse them later, and specifically stated it wanted to retain authority to do so.
"We continue to oppose the unconstitutional, torturous practice of solitary confinement of people in our jails and prisons, including those on death row, and will work toward permanent abolition of this practice in the Commonwealth."