Solitary confinement that lasts more than 15 consecutive days is recognized by the United Nations and various human rights organizations as torture. Even short-term stays can lead to permanent psychological damage and suicidal ideation. Despite these well-documented harms, New York has put thousands of people in solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the state – sometimes for years – with little due process, and often for minor infractions.
In 2021, state lawmakers took a major step towards ending this brutal practice by passing the Humane Alternatives to Solitary Confinement (HALT) Act. There is also a bill with broad support in the New York City council that would go even further than HALT to end solitary in the city’s jails.
But there is evidence that the state is ignoring the requirements laid out under HALT. And the “tough-on-crime” resurgence that has gripped New York is emboldening opponents of solitary reform and ratcheting up the pressure to put more people in isolation.
We talk about this with NYCLU Policy Counsel Jared Trujillo.
More on the pushback to implementing HALT from corrections unions.
More on the NYC bill to ban solitary.
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