New York City jails to end solitary confinement
NEW YORK - The New York City Board of Correction has voted unanimously to end solitary confinement in the city’s jails.
The board says it plans to move to a "more humane" disciplinary model.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says with the new proposed disciplinary model, New York City will go further than any major jail system in the country in banning solitary confinement.
"This rule ends solitary confinement in the New York City jail system once and for all, replacing it with a system that balances the need for safety in the jail and the need to provide the care and support to address behaviors for all concerned," said Board of Correction Chair and CEO and Executive Director of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Jennifer Jones Austin. "These reforms are necessary for a safer and more humane jail system, for people in custody and staff."
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Solitary confinement leaves inmates locked in their cells for 20-24 hours each day.
The new model is a two-level progression model that includes attorney representation at infraction hearings, a minimum of 10 hours out of a cell a day, and allows socializing with at least one other person.
The new model will go into effect in the fall of 2021.T
The city ended solitary confinement for 16 to 21-year-olds and people with serious mental illness several years ago.
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The board says the new rule recognizes that solitary confinement creates significant risks of psychological and physical harm to people in custody.
In addition to ending solitary confinement, the rule:
• Fully ends the use of routine restraint desks.
• Requires the Department to use cells for de-escalation confinement after incidents, rather than intake areas.
• Limits scope of lockdowns to only housing areas that must be locked down.
• Requires regular and public reporting by the Department.
• Maintains the prohibition on placing people with serious mental illness in restrictive housing.