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Report says New York prison officials regularly violate solitary confinement law

Mar 22, 2023 12:59 pm

Brendan J. Lyons reports in the Times Union that prison officials across the state are still regularly putting prisoners in solitary confinement a year after New York enacted laws to prevent the prolonged solitary confinement of inmates. Putting people in solitary confinement for extended periods of time has long been viewed as torture, but prison officials are violating the new rules, according to a report by the Correctional Association of New York, an independent organization authorized to monitor prison conditions. The group found there has been "numerous departures from basic adherence" to the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act, which took effect last year after being signed into law in March 2021 by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The report found that some inmates are being held in isolation in special housing units for "six times the legal limit." Some people not allowed in solitary confinement because of the new rules, still are being held in solitary confinement, including those aged 21 or younger and 55 or older, or who suffer from mental, medical, or physical disabilities. Individuals being held in "residential rehabilitative units," transitional disciplinary units are supposed to get six hours of "out of cell" programming and an additional hour of recreation, but often are not allowed out or are held in restraints. The report wants the corrections department to, "publicly articulate explanations for (its) lack of adherence to or full implementation of each of HALT’s requirements and outline steps that can be taken now to follow the law’s requirements." Read the full story in the Times Union.

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