HOUSTON (AP) — Texas correctional officials have stopped using solitary confinement to punish prisoners.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Sept. 1 change affects about 75 prisoners in punitive solitary.

Jason Clark, a state Department of Criminal Justice spokesman, says the department determined it can operate effectively without using solitary confinement as a punishment.

Clark says inmates will have other punishments, such as loss of commissary privileges.

Nearly 4,000 state prison inmates remain in "administrative segregation" because of gang affiliations or security threats. Administrative segregation typically involves prisoners being confined to a cell for 22 hours a day, only being released for an hour each of recreation and to shower.

An official with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas says the state agency is masking solitary confinement by calling it administrative segregation.

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