Colorado bans solitary confinement for longer than 15 days

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DENVER (AP) - Colorado officials say prison inmates can't be held in solitary confinement for more than 15 days, the latest effort to overhaul a practice criticized by the state prison chief as "torture."

The Colorado Department of Corrections announced the change Thursday. The department also will require at least four hours for recreation or group classes while in solitary.

Spokesman Mark Fairbairn said the practice ended in September. He couldn't provide details on the effects so far.

The overhaul of solitary confinement in Colorado began in 2011 under former prisons chief Tom Clements.

Clements' 2013 murder by a former inmate who spent years in solitary confinement made the issue personal for Gov. John Hickenlooper, who in 2014 signed a law banning the placement of inmates with serious mental illness in solitary.