Lawmakers heard this week from former inmates and prison officials as they consider proposing legislation to amend the laws government solitary confinement in state prisons. In emotional testimony, a former inmate described how after three years in solitary confinement for spitting on a guard he went from “a whole human being . . . to a deeply fractured human being.” At the hearing, prison officials acknowledged that they do not know how many inmates suffered mental health conditions as a result of their solitary confinement. Representatives of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation testified at the hearing that segregating inmates is necessary for prison safety in order to curb gang violence. Recently the Department of Corrections altered its policies for assigning inmates to solitary confinement. Previously inmates suspected of having a gang affiliation could be assigned to solitary confinement, now inmates must be assigned based on their individual behavior.