HALT Solitary Act passes NYS Senate; sent to Cuomo
Edward McKinley is reporting for Capitol Confidential the state Senate Thu., Mar. 18, passed the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act. The measure was approved by the state Assembly earlier this week. It now goes to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for signature. The HALT Solitary bill limits solitary confinement for incarcerated people statewide to 15 days and places other restrictions on the practice. Extended solitary confinement is viewed by the United Nations as torture because of its extreme adverse psychological impacts on a person. In addition to the ban on solitary for more than 15 days, the bill creates Residential Rehabilitation Units as an alternative to solitary; prohibits any solitary confinement for people under 21, over 55, who are pregnant or who have a disability. It also requires annual training for staff who oversee solitary confinement and requires the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to track data for and publish reports on solitary confinement. “We remember the names Layleen Polanco, Kalief Browder, and Benjamin van Zandt, and the countless others whose lives have either been taken or destroyed by solitary confinement. Prolonged segregated confinement can cause permanent harms and does not properly address the root causes that lead to the punishment. These reforms are morally right, fiscally responsible, and will improve outcomes at jails and prisons,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Read the full story at Capitol Confidential, a Times Union blog.