Solitary confinement

UPDATED: NYC Board of Corrections Approves New Rules for Solitary Confinement, ESHU

This post is being updated throughout the day. Please check back later for more updates. Update 8:07, 1/14/15: Here is a copy of the final rules approved by the BOC yesterday. I’ll have more to say on this in the next day or two when I have time to put together a full post, but I would be very cautious of reports and official statements touting Rikers as a new ‘model for reform’ given its proposed restrictions on solitary for juvenile offenders. Not only because there are so [Continue reading]

NYC Doubles Down on Solitary Confinement with Latest Rikers “Reforms”

The AP reports that the NYC Board of Correction (BOC) will vote this coming Tuesday on changes to solitary confinement on Rikers Island, including a new Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit (ESHU) for the prison’s “most dangerous” inmates and policies that seek to limit punitive segregation for other inmates, particularly the mentally ill and juveniles aged 16-21. The proposed BOC rules also include: Ending isolation for ‘owed time‘ Ending isolation for [Continue reading]

Rikers Island Reform: the Good, the Bad and the Omitted

After a summer and fall wracked with reports of violence, corruption and abuse on Rikers Island, it seems like change, in some form, is finally on its way. Growing protests over law enforcement brutality and the advent of prosecutions, federal lawsuits, committee reports and policy changes now conspire to face down many of the NYC Dept. of Corrections’ worst demons. Some of the possible reforms have yet to germinate, such as those stemming from the Justice [Continue reading]

Homophobia, Fear of AIDS Allegedly Drove San Bernadino County to Skip Safety Checks for LGBTQ Prisoners

In a white male supremacist society, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) prisoners face the compounded misery of discrimination based on their race, income, and/or sexual orientation and gender identity. They are three times more likely to be assaulted behind bars than other prisoners, and are grossly overrepresented in our prisons — particularly our disgraceful juvenile detention centers. While only 4-8% of youth identify as LGBTQ on the outside, 13-15% of prisoners [Continue reading]

New Report Shows Juvenile, Mentally Ill Abuses Continue Under NYCDOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte

The Bronx Defenders recently put out a report on the use of solitary confinement at Rikers Island amid a growing number of reports of violence, abuse and mismanagement at the facility. The study, titled Voices from the Box (PDF), surveyed 59 inmates between July 2013 and August 2014 and it confirms the horrifying and widespread use of solitary confinement against adolescent and mentally ill inmates. Researchers found that half of Rikers prisoners in solitary were between the ages of 16 [Continue reading]

Damage Control Threatens Change at Rikers Island

On September 29th, the New York Times reported that the New York City Department of Corrections was eliminating solitary confinement for 16 and 17-year-old inmates at Rikers. The department claimed it would be the “first round of changes” and “solitary confinement [would] be replaced by ‘alternative options, intermediate consequences for misbehavior and steps designed to pre-empt incidents from occurring.'” New York City Department of Corrections Commissioner [Continue reading]

Prisons Are Obsolete: California Mental Health Edition

California corrections officials have reached an agreement on changes to the treatment of mentally ill inmates held in solitary confinement at their facilities. The special attention is long overdue. The mentally ill are some of the most vulnerable people within the American prison system, and the abuse that prompted U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton to rule California’s treatment of mentally ill inmates was ‘cruel and unusual’ typifies the prison system’s failures to [Continue reading]
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