Tuesday, September 13, 2022
United Nations Condemns U.S. for Misuse of Chemical Agents, Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons in Response to Reports of St. Louis City Justice Center Jail Conditions
By Lauren E. Bartlett, HRAH Blog Editor, and Anezka Krobot, 2L at St. Louis University School of Law
On Tuesday, August 30, 2022, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination published its Concluding Observations and Recommendations from its August 10-12 review of the United States. The Committee, which is made up of 18 independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, expressed concerns and gave recommendations for how the United States could better implement the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
In its findings, the Committee condemned the misuse of chemical agents, like pepper spray, in U.S. jails and prisons, in addition to the use of solitary confinement. The Committee also recommended that the U.S impose “strict restrictions on the use of solitary confinement and the use of chemical agents as pepper spray and ensuring that its use does not have a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities.”
These statements follow submissions of reports of inhumane conditions at the St. Louis City Justice Center jail (CJC), including statements from people who were currently and formerly incarcerated at CJC, advocacy organizations and a shadow report submitted in July 2022 by the MacArthur Justice Center, Saint Louis University School of Law Human Rights at Home Litigation Clinic, ArchCity Defenders and Rights Behind Bars. The shadow report highlights the tortuous punishment and inhumane confinement conditions that are used on a daily basis against those detained in the City of St. Louis, 95% of whom are Black.
A full press statement regarding the Committee’s findings can be found here.