Assembly Passes HALT - The Work Is Not Finished!

NYAPRS News:  A cheer went out in the Assembly Chamber as the Honorable. Jeffrion L. Aubry. Assembly, District 35, Speaker Pro Tempore took a victory in debate for the passage of The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B - Aubrey/S.4784A - Parker). The bill debate with the Honorable David Weprin, Assembly, District 24 ended with Assemblyman Weprin stating Assemblyman Aubrey had “swayed” his vote toward the 85 - 35 passing through the Assembly.  NYAPRS is proud to have been in the room, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, as a member of a seemingly neve exhausted coalition, Mental Health Alternatives to Solitary (MHASC). We have worked beside those who have experienced the isolation of living in solitary confinement for torturous periods of time, we have worked beside people who have who have lost children, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, relatives and friends to suicide from this inhumane punishment. 30% of all prison suicides in NY take place in solitary.  NYAPRS would like to thank the Assembly, MHASC, CAIC, Kevin Cleary, Lobbyist, all of the advocates, NYAPRS members and Harvey Rosenthal who relentlessly worked to get this Bill where it is.  We cannot afford to stop now!  We must get this through the Senate! Your calls and visits to your Senators are more important than ever.  We will keep you posted of progress with legislative meetings.

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On Tuesday, June 12, 2018 the New York State Assembly passed the Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B-Aubry / S.4784A-Parker). The #HALTsolitary campaign, which has long engaged in organizing, education, and advocacy to get it enacted into law, issued the following statement:

 “The #HALTsolitary campaign applauds Speaker Carl Heastie, lead Assembly sponsor Jeffrion Aubry, and the New York State Assembly for passing legislation to end the torture of solitary confinement and replace it with more humane and effective alternatives. Thousands of people remain in solitary confinement in New York’s prisons and jails each day, isolated 22 to 24 hours a day in a cell without any meaningful human contact or programs, often for months, years, and even decades. They are disproportionately Black and Latinx people, young people, gender non-conforming people, and people with mental illness, often held in isolation for non-violent infractions or even for speaking out about abuse by staff. If the State Senate fails to act to end this racist and destructive practice this session, as appears likely even though HALT has 25 co-sponsors in that house, Governor Cuomo must implement the reforms we seek administratively.”

Background: Despite some modest reforms, people continue to spend months, years, and decades in solitary confinement in New York. Decades of research and accounts from survivors demonstrate that the sensory deprivation, lack of normal interaction, and extreme idleness of solitary can lead to intense suffering and severe psychological and physical damage. More than 30% of all prison suicides in New York take place in solitary. The entire United Nations, including the US, passed rules prohibiting solitary beyond 15 days for any person. HALT would bring New York in line with this standard, in addition to requiring prison and jail officials to implement alternatives that actually address the root causes of any problematic behavior. Governor Cuomo can also implement these changes through executive action.

Learn more at www.nycaic.org.

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