Could New York ban solitary confinement in prisons statewide?
A new bill proposed in New York would ban solitary confinement for those incarcerated in city jails. Could New York implement this statewide?
According to a report by Erik Ortiz of NBC News, the New York City bill has the support of at least two-thirds of the city’s legislature. The bill would prohibit keeping incarcerated people in solitary confinement for more than two hours in the daytime 24 hours or eight hours at night to sleep. At most, inmates can be held in solitary confinement for up to four hours to defuse a conflict or if the incarcerated person poses an immediate danger to another person.
The bill would only apply to prisons in New York, but it could be a concept spreading across the state as Governor Kathy Hochul recently made changes to the prison system in New York. State. In early August, Governor Hochul signed two bills relating to the prison system, one of which changed the terminology used for people in prison from “inmates” to “incarcerated individuals”, and the other extending the duration of programs community supervision such as off-hours drug treatment for parolees who may have difficulty participating in these programs and maintaining their employment.
The basis of the New York City bill is to address what lawmakers and inmate advocates say is traumatic and inhumane treatment. Counselor Carlina Rivera told Ortiz in the report “Closed solitary confinement, whatever you call it, is traumatic and inhumane, with deadly effects on everyone’s mental health and safety.” Lawmakers and inmate advocates have also called for an overhaul of the city’s prison system.
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