Solitary Confinement Reform in New York: A NYAPRS Update

Solitary Confinement Reform in New York: An Update

June 21, 2019

              Harvey Rosenthal  NYAPRS

 

“Six by ten feet. That’s the average size of the cell in which thousands of New Yorkers suffer for weeks, months, and even decades in solitary confinement.

They are locked down for 22 to 24 hours a day, without meaningful human contact, programming, or therapy, in cells the size of an elevator.

With little stimulation, virtually no meaningful human contact and extreme idleness, they experience intense suffering, severe psychological and lasting neurological damage. They are forced to endure perceptual distortions, hallucinations, severe anxiety, appetite and weight loss, self-mutilation and suicidal thoughts.

Further, solitary increases the risk of suicide and self-harm. One third of all suicides in our state prisons take place in solitary and a recent study found that people who were held in solitary confinement in NYC Jails were nearly 7 times more likely to harm themselves.”

 

It’s clear now that solitary confinement is widely regarded as torture.

 

That’s why NYAPRS joined the 2008 ‘Boot the SHU’ campaign that ultimately reduced the numbers of New Yorkers with mental illnesses into solitary confinement cells in NYS prisons. But that work was no where near enough….and almost 900 people with significant mental illnesses suffer in the Box at this very moment today.

 

As a result, we became members of the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC), an extraordinary group of survivors, family members, faith based groups and legal rights and mental health advocates and why we have worked so tirelessly together for passage of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act ((http://nycaic.org/legislation/).

 

In January, Governor Cuomo released a Criminal Justice reform policy that included several important improvements (https://www.ny.gov/programs/restoring-fairness-new-yorks-criminal-justice-system) but left out most of the landmark provisions of the HALT bill.

 

Over the past 6 months, the Governor and Legislature were not able to reach agreement on how to include and implement the HALT provisions, either as a part of the budget or, since the HALT bill died last night despite voting majorities in both houses, via legislation,

 

Instead, the Governor and legislative leaders reached a “joint agreement to overhaul solitary confinement policies” last night that will be done administratively and, frankly, without the level of accountability and oversight that appropriately comes with a law.

 

At this time, we only have a few details but here are some mixed findings.

 

  • Duration: HALT requires that no one would be placed in solitary for more than 15 consecutive days, in keeping with UN findings that more time in the Box amounts to torture. Nonetheless, the joint agreement includes the Governor’s original proposal to ultimately reducing the time limit to 30 days by April 2022. As a result, too many people will have to wait too long to spend too much time in solitary confinement in New York.

 

  • Alternatives: HALT requires that secure Residential Rehabilitation Units be created as humane treatment alternatives, with 6 hours per day of out-of-cell programming plus one hour of out-of-cell recreation. It’s not clear that if and when these will be offered any time soon, or if the out of cell time is included. The Governor has attached a huge cost to these and, as a result, it’s possible that thousands of New Yorkers will suffer in solitary for months to years because we can’t find a way to properly cost out, pay for and build humane alternatives.

 

Why is that?  And why do people of color make up the great majority of individuals in prisons and solitary?

 

  • Populations: HALT seeks to exclude individuals who meet one or more of the following criteria: 21 years or younger; 55 years or older; having a physical, mental, or medical disability; pregnant; new mother or a mom who is caring for a child while inside. The agreement excludes adolescents, pregnant women and, we believe, those individuals with mental, physical or medical disabilities who are deemed as being unable to engage in ‘self-care’ in those facilities…promising but more details are needed about how this is defined and by what process.

 

  • Other Positive Provisions

    • Ensuring that incarcerated individuals housed within one of the specialized units will be able to earn an early release back to the general population by completing their rehabilitation program, and without any loss of good time.

    • Ensuring that incarcerated individuals will not be denied essential services as a form of discipline and DOCCS will not impose restricted diets or any other changes in diet as punishment.

    • Making clear that solitary confinement will be a reserved punishment for serious conduct that creates significant risk to the safety and security of correctional facilities and the individuals within.

    • Increasing training of all staff that work within special housing units on de-escalation techniques, implicit bias, trauma-informed care, and dispute resolution.

 

The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement is far from over in New York and I know our members will work tirelessly until our goals are met, with all of the dedication and skill that created more strategies with more visibility than I’ve ever seen in this work.

 

Recall all of the NYS and NYC news conferences and demonstrations, the letter writing and call in efforts, displays of a replica of the Box, tribunals, hunger strikes and special events and actions by over a thousand of our mental health colleagues and greater community, including the incredible dedication of Glenn Liebman and MHANYS and our NYAPRS Board and members.

 

I will ever be inspired by the extraordinary courage and commitment of our CAIC members and forever haunted and driven by their heartbreaking experiences and stories and their incredible humanity and love. 

 

Join us today at http://nycaic.org/contact/ and look for more details of further actions in the coming months, and give at https://www.mightycause.com/story/Haltsolitary. Thank you!

 

NYS Assembly to Pass HALT: Call the Senate!

Word is that the NYS Assembly will pass the HALT bill as written!

Now the Senate must step up as well.

Now its up to You!

You must CALL NOW!

NY Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins (518-455-2585)

Senate lead sponsor Sepúlveda (518-455-2511)

Urge them to enact HALT immediately TODAY

Bring the HALT Solitary  Confinement  Act (S1623/A2500) to a vote NOW - as is without watering it down!  No more negotiation, no compromise- pass the HALT bill as it is NOW!

The Assembly is passing it! The Senate must join them! 

Do not let another mind or life be taken by this  to rture. Thank you .”

Also retweet posts by @nycaic or make your own posts on social media 

@AndreaSCousins @LuisSepulvedaNY @nycai

Advocates Reject Gov Cuomo's Resistance, Cost Estimates for Solitary Confinement Reform; Legislators Mull Passing their Bill

NYAPRS Note: As the NYS legislative session prepares to wrap up at the end of today or tomorrow morning, passage of the HALT solitary confinement reform bill looms very large. The issues is listed as among the top 3 or 4 priorities by most media as the Hunger Strike goes into its 7th day and advocates took over the Governor’s ‘War Room’ yesterday detailing the horrific trauma so any endured there and camped out between both houses’ chambers into the night.  

Governor Cuomo tried to thread the needle yesterday by backing reform but saying the money wasn’t there but the advocates were undeterred. Our campaign released a statement early this morning saying “President Trump famously said he had the largest-ever crowd size for his inauguration, despite widely accepted estimates showing a laughably small turnout. This is no different, except that the consequences of anyone taking Gov. Cuomo’s comments on the HALT Solitary Confinement Act seriously would be far, far worse. The governor has a clear agenda and he is playing with numbers.”

It’s possible that the Governor’s intransigence will be met by a 2 house bill that gets placed on his desk later today or tomorrow. Several days ago, the Rent reform bill was about the be handed to him this way until he stepped in and helped craft and sign the measure.

 

Our group held a vigil well into early into the morning and we will be here again all day for a session that is expected to start at noon.

 

The HALT bill has majorities in both houses….we are urging them to go forward today and pass the bill!

 

The Top End-Of-Session Issues For State Lawmakers

Deals On Marijuana Legalizations And Other Top Issues Remain Elusive.

By ZACH WILLIAMS   City and State NY June 18, 2019

 

State lawmakers are passing a landmark bill addressing climate change, but several high-profile issues remain unresolved heading into the final scheduled day of this year’s legislative session.

It was unclear by late Tuesday evening whether lawmakers had passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, as lawmakers stayed late to pass as many bills as they could in the final days of the legislative session. Lawmakers are expected to continue that effort on Wednesday by passing a range of progressive legislation, including changes to state laws on sexual harassment, an expansion of farmworkers’ rights, and a renewal of the state program that helps minority- and women-owned enterprises get public contracts. Some of these proposals could pass as stand-alone pieces of legislation, but others could get pushed into an omnibus bill that lawmakers would aim to pass sometime Wednesday or early Thursday.

…..

Criminal justice reform

The state budget included new limits on cash bail and other criminal justice reforms, but lawmakers are still looking to pass several additional proposals. This includes legislation that would restrict the use of solitary confinement in state prisons, a proposal to give automatic parole to elderly inmates and an effort to make disciplinary records of NYPD officers more transparent. Activists have been pushing lawmakers to pass the reforms, but they remain up in the air on the final day of the session. Cuomo told WNCY on Tuesday morning that a deal could happen, but he remains concerned about what the cost would be of shifting inmates away from solitary confinement. "I'm not in favor of building a billion dollars in new jails,” he said. Activists have urged that cost savings be achieved through the opposite approach of closing down prisons – an issue that may be difficult for a governor who has already been criticized this year for the economic effects of closing upstate correctional facilities. Activists also pushed back at Cuomo’s comments on Tuesday that suggested the proposal would require new prisons and that the legislation would hurt the state’s bottom line. “President Trump famously said he had the largest-ever crowd size for his inauguration, despite widely accepted estimates showing a laughably small turnout,” read a statement from the HALT Solitary campaign. “This is no different, except that the consequences of anyone taking Gov. Cuomo’s comments on the HALT Solitary Confinement Act seriously would be far, far worse. The governor has a clear agenda and he is playing with numbers.”

https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-state/ten-issues-still-facing-new-york-state-lawmakers.html

 

City & State Activists also pushed back at Cuomo’s comments on Tuesday that suggested the proposal would require new prisons and that the legislation would hurt the state’s bottom line. “President Trump famously said he had the largest-ever crowd size for his inauguration, despite widely accepted estimates showing a laughably small turnout,” read a statement from the HALT Solitary campaign. “This is no different, except that the consequences of anyone taking Gov. Cuomo’s comments on the HALT Solitary Confinement Act seriously would be far, far worse. The governor has a clear agenda and he is playing with numbers.”

 

Daily News A Democratic insider said there is still a chance that the two chambers could pass the bill without Cuomo’s help before the end of the legislative session on Wednesday.

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Cuomo Takes Heat From Criminal Justice Advocates Over Comments About Solitary Confinement Reforms

By DENIS SLATTERY   New York Daily News  June 18, 2019

 

ALBANY — Solitary confinement is “inhumane,” but kindness is costly, says Gov. Cuomo.

Cuomo drew the ire of criminal justice advocates, some of whom are on a hunger strike, when he claimed Tuesday to support a bill that would end long-term solitary confinement, but raised concerns about how much the move could wind up costing the state.

“I am in favor of better, safer, more humane procedures,” Cuomo told WCNY’s Susan Arbetter. “What the current proposal does, however, it mandates that the state and local jails build a new type of jail."

Cuomo estimated that building new facilities and units would cost the state about $350 million and another $1 billion statewide for local jails.

Proponents of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) bill say the governor is mischaracterizing the measure.

“The alternative units that the governor is referencing in his statement would be limited to a small population of people who could be housed in existing facilities, but with a greater amount of time out-of-cell, meaningful programs, and interaction with other people,” a spokesman for the #HALTsolitary Confinement Campaign said in a statement.

The HALT act would ban prisons from holding inmates away from others for more than 15 consecutive or 20 days total in a 60-day time frame. It would also ban the practice for those younger than 21 years old and older than 55, and for people with physical and mental disabilities.

More than 2,400 people were in solitary confinement as of June 1, according to statistics released by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Correction officers from around the state have spoken out against the measure, arguing that it would needlessly put them in danger.

“We firmly believe that any legislative effort to further restrict how long violent inmates can spend in punitive segregation, even after viciously assaulting our members, or other inmates, sends a dangerous message to these inmates-there are zero consequences for committing crimes behind bars,” said city Correction Officers Benevolent Association president Elias Husamudeen, whose organization submitted a memo of opposition against the bill.

Dozens of advocates, including some who survived solitary, have been on a hunger strike since last Thursday, consuming nothing but liquids as they demand the state overhaul isolated confinement. Several of the demonstrators planned to hold a vigil in the Capitol Building late Tuesday, risking arrest to raise awareness for their cause.

Activist Roger Clark, a community leader with VOCAL-NY who spent time in solitary, said Cuomo has it all wrong.

“He has more than enough facilities to do the rehabilitative residential units right now,” Clark said. “I know the traumatic impact of solitary and I’m still suffering the effects and I’m adamant he should end solitary confinement right now.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) indicated that talks are ongoing between his chamber, the Senate and the governor’s office.

“We’re in three-way discussions on solitary confinement and I hope we can get to a place where all parties are happy,” Heastie said.

A Democratic insider said there is still a chance that the two chambers could pass the bill without Cuomo’s help before the end of the legislative session on Wednesday.

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-solitary-confinement-reforms-cuomo-advocates-20190618-nmowdgfsjjcwfkl4lqvpyc7osi-story.html

 

We must end solitary confinement in New York | Opinion

Kim Francis, Special to the USA TODAY NETWORK  June 18, 2019

New York legislators must end solitary confinement in prisons and jails across the state. They must do it for all New Yorkers as the torture of solitary confinement runs contrary to our values as New Yorkers. They must do this for the people on the inside who are currently in solitary, and for people like me, on the outside, still suffering from the experiences I endured while I was in prison. 

Starting in the early 1980s, I spent about 24 years in and out of New York state prisons and ended up in solitary confinement a couple of times. The first time, in Clinton Correctional Facility, was the most memorable: I was in for 30 days and it was a truly horrific experience. 

A guard refused to let me out of my cell to go to a program. One thing led to another and we started yelling at each other, with me cursing him out. They swept me up on a “verbal abuse” infraction and sent me straight to “the box.”

When you are in solitary confinement, it’s disorienting. You are sort of able to see people through a tiny square in the door of your cell, but you don’t really know what’s going on. One day I started to hear yelling from a nearby cell: A man was calling for help, saying he was having health complications, and the officers kept telling him to be quiet. Finally, three or four officers came in and beat him. I heard a lot more yelling, and then it was just quiet. They left. The next morning they carried him out — he had died in his cell.

I had to learn very quickly to become numb. My whole world was cut off. I cut off all social activity and all emotion — it was like putting on a mask, never showing any vulnerability. You have to become a different person than you used to be. 

When I got out of solitary, I was even angrier than when I went in, because of the injustice of it. People were locked away for all kinds of reasons — some for serious issues, but for the most part just smaller infractions like mine. And it didn’t help anything. In fact, it made things worse. 

What if the guards had just asked me why I spoke out and sought to address the underlying issue instead of subjecting me to torture, which only made me want to act out more? New York’s prisons are not designed to solve problems, only to control and punish. The HALT bill would help to change that. 

Since leaving prison for good in 2002, it’s taken me a long time to filter back into society. I spent years bouncing between living in the streets, shelters, hospitals and other institutions. My time inside, including in solitary, did a lot to me, psychologically. It has an effect on everyone, some more severe than others. Now I’m blessed to live just one day at a time, trying to feel like a human again after feeling like an animal for so many years. I still have flashbacks, still use the language I learned on the inside, and I have a really hard time relating to other people. But I am surviving — I'm now living the best life possible in my own place here in Yonkers. 

I was excited to learn that New York State is on the cusp of banning the practice of solitary confinement so that other people do not have to relive my experiences. All we need is a vote. So today I urge state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins to support our community and pass this legislation. It could save somebody’s life.

Kim Francis lives in Yonkers and is a community leader for Voices Of Community Activists and Leaders, a grassroots advocacy organization.

https://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/2019/06/18/we-must-end-solitary-confinement-new-york-opinion/1479305001/

 

 

Mental Health Solitary Ban in Jeopardy! Call Albany NOW

BREAKING

Mental Health Solitary Ban in Jeopardy

Albany Must Approve the HALT Bill As Written!

 

Apparently, the Assembly, Senate and the Governor are in negotiations on the HALT bill.

There’s nothing in this bill that should be negotiated out!

One ‘sticking point’ in particular appears to be the ban on the use of solitary confinement with people with mental disabilities.

Our mental health community must stand strong with the HALT coalition!

 

ALL MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATES SHOULD CALL NOW!

 

Call the following NOW:


Tell them to enact HALT immediately TODAY without any changes! NY must end solitary confinement for people with mental illnesses”

 

HALT Bill Final Push: Call Albany Today!

NYAPRS Note: On this final day of this year’s NYS Legislative session, advocates for Humane Alternatives To Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act need your help in a series of final actions!

 

The #HALTsolitary Campaign has been pushing the #HALTsolitary bill to end solitary confinement in New York State prisons and jails for many years.

At this moment we are closer than ever before. A majority of legislators in both the Senate and the Assembly are co-sponsors of the bill but leadership has not yet brought the bill to the floor for a vote. Advocates have shared their very personal experiences with solitary with legislators and staff people for many years, we have educated and organized their constituents across New York State, we have rallied, we have won the official support more than 110 legislators, and yet our political leaders have still not passed the bill!

 

CALL LEGISLATIVE LEADERS, YOUR SENATOR!

Please take 30 seconds TODAY to make 3 calls:

 

Call Senate Majority Leader Stewart- Cousins at 518-455-2585 / 914-423-4031) and tell her:

Thousands of New Yorkers are suffering in solitary confinement, for months, years, and decades. The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500) has 34 Senate cosponsors and others committed to vote for it. I respectfully urge you to bring HALT to a vote now (as is, without watering down its protections), so we can finally end this torture.

 

CALL Assembly Speaker Heastie: (518) 455-3791 and tell him:

"Thousands of New Yorkers are suffering in solitary confinement, for months, years, and decades. Thank you for your leadership in supporting the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A2500/S1623). We appreciate that the Assembly passed HALT last year and that you continue to support the bill. I respectfully urge you to bring HALT to a vote now (as is, without watering down its protections), so we can finally end this torture. There is no time to lose!

 

CALL Your Own Senator: find at www.openstates.org and tell them:

"Thousands of New Yorkers are suffering in solitary confinement, for months, years, and decades. Thank you for your support of the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500). What are you doing now to end this torture? Will you tell the Senate leadership that HALT is a priority and that you want the bill to be brought to a vote now (as is, without watering down its protections)? HALT has 34 Senate cosponsors and others committed to vote for it. There is no time to lose. Do not let another mind or life be taken by this torture. Thank you."

 

STOP THE SUFFERING: THANK YOU!

NY Mental Health Advocates Push For Solitary Confinement Rules: AP

NYAPRS Note: State legislators are considering passing the HALT solitary confinement reform bill today, as written. A central provision in the bill is an end to the use of ‘the Box’ for people with mental and physical disabilities, a provision that has not received the backing of the Cuomo Administration. Mental health advocacy has been a core element of the campaign, as evidenced by the letter referenced below. Person after person who gave personal testimony at the Capital yesterday spoke about the permanent mental damage inflicted by solitary. Any responsible official who has heard such testimony would heed the moral imperative to act. People with mental illnesses who need to be separated should be placed in more humane rehabilitative environments, as per the bill.

Any final agreement on HALT must include the ban for people with mental illnesses!

New York Mental Health Advocates Push For Solitary Confinement Rules

By David Klepper Associated Press June 18, 2019

 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — One thousand mental health professionals and advocates from around New York state are signing on to a proposal to restrict the use of solitary confinement in prisons and jails.

 

Those signing on to the letter to state leaders include social workers, psychologists and other mental health professionals. The letter urges passage of legislation that would prohibit placing an inmate in isolation for more than 15 days.

 

Supporters say isolation can leave life-long psychological scars.

 

The bill hasn't been scheduled for a vote. Advocates say they're concerned it may not pass before lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn later this week.

 

Cuomo said Monday that he agrees changes are needed to ensure solitary confinement is humane, but he said he’s concerned the bill may require the construction of new prison facilities.

 

https://www.syracuse.com/state/2019/06/new-york-mental-health-advocates-push-for-solitary-confinement-rules.html

 

NY Community Healthcare Groups Call for Dedicated % of State Transformation Funds

NYAPRS Note: A coalition representing behavioral health, physical health, foster care and developmental disability service providers call for legislative approval of a measure that would require the state to dedicate 25% of any accrued healthcare transformation funds into our sector. Currently the funds have gone primarily to hospitals and nursing homes. Great thanks to the NYS Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare for organizing the campaign and event!

 

Community Care Associations Seek Funds From Health Care Investment Account

Crain’s Health Pulse  June 19, 2019

 

A group of 21 community health care associations gathered at the state Capitol Tuesday afternoon to urge lawmakers to set aside funds from the state's Healthcare Transformation Fund for community-based providers.

Specifically, they urged the passage of legislation currently in committee in the Assembly and state Senate that calls for at least 25% of the money deposited in the fund—created as part of the state's fiscal 2019 budget—to be allocated for such a purpose.

In a letter delivered to state lawmakers Tuesday, Lauri Cole, executive director of the New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, noted on behalf of the associations that $675 million from the fund was made available earlier this year to provide a Medicaid rate increase for hospitals and nursing homes across the state.

"We recognize the needs of our colleagues who work in hospitals and nursing homes, and we do not begrudge them these increases," she wrote. "However, without a stable community-based system of care, New York state will not be able to achieve its policy objectives to include decreased readmission rates, diversion from emergency rooms and other acute-care services to less costly alternatives, and ensure access to care is available to all New Yorkers when they need it."

The associations further said that community-based providers in the state have been deprived of funding for more than two decades. The first phase of the Statewide Healthcare Facility Transformation in 2017 allocated only 6.5% of the $475.9 million available to community-based providers. And transformation funding through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment and other programs from 2015 to 2020 allocated a mere 0.7% of the more than $8 billion available to community-based providers, they added.

"Community-based providers are operating on a wafer-thin financial base at the same time that they are depended upon to decrease hospital readmission rates, divert nonacute patients from the ER and increase access to care for children and adults in communities reeling from the impact of two simultaneous public health crises: the opioid epidemic and rising suicide rates," Cole said in a statement. —J.H.

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Advocates Look To Move Bill Concerning Health Care Transformation Dollars

Shannon Young, Politico, June 18, 2019

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) joined advocates representing nearly two dozen community health care organizations today in urging the Legislature to pass bills, NY A7977 (19R)) / (NY S6376 (19R), requiring Health Care Transformation Fund dollars to be allocated to community-based care providers.

Gottfried, who chairs the Assembly Health Committee, said that although the legislation has yet to see much action — with just one day left in the session — it could move because it does not seek any new revenue.

The bill would require that at least 25 percent of the funds deposited into the health care transformation fund be allocated for certain community-based health care providers on an annual basis.

Gottfried acknowledged that HCTF dollars could be allocated without the legislation, but said "in reality, that virtually never happens without legislative direction."

The HCTF, enacted as part of the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget, requires funds to be used to support care delivery, including capital investment, debt retirement or restructuring, housing and other social determinants of health, advocates noted.

 

 

 

Cuomo, Lawmakers Differ on Cost of Solitary Confinement Reform | New York Law Journal

The focus on the Humane Alternatives to Solitary (HALT) bill has intensified to where the Governor and both Houses are openly in discussions.

The Governor's cost estimates are much higher than the calculations from the Senate and Assembly and the advocates, who held a 'Tribunal' in the War Room that featured heartrending personal accounts of torture people experienced in the Box.

Later, advocates presented a proclamation with research on the traumatic harm inflicted by the Box to Chantalle Smith, chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

See photos below.

In the 6th day of a hunger strike, advocates will be holding an all night vigil tonight at the Capital.

halt6-19-19.2.jpg

AP: Mental Health Advocates Push for Solitary Confinement Rules; Call Albany Now!

NYAPRS Note: Great thanks to all NYS and national mental health advocates who signed up in support of the HALT bill to end the use of solitary confinement for people with psychiatric, developmental and physical disabilities and to restrict the use of solitary to 15 days at any one time for all.

48 individuals have joined the hunger strike and advocates have been ever present in the Capital over the past few weeks and during the last 2 day sof session, today and tomorrow.

Call the following today!

Call Senate Majority Leader Stewart- Cousins at 518-455-2585 and Assembly Speaker Heastie: (518) 455-3791 and tell them:

Thousands of New Yorkers are suffering in solitary confinement, for months, years, and decades. The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500) has enough Senate and Assembly cosponsors and others committed to vote for it. I urge you to bring HALT to a vote now (as is, without watering down its protections), so we can finally end this torture. There is no time to lose!

Thank You!

Mental Health Advocates Push for Solitary Confinement Rules

 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — One thousand mental health professionals and advocates from around New York state are signing on to a proposal to restrict the use of solitary confinement in prisons and jails.

 

Those signing on to the letter to state leaders include social workers, psychologists and other mental health professionals. The letter urges passage of legislation that would prohibit placing an inmate in isolation for more than 15 days.

 

Supporters say isolation can leave life-long psychological scars.

 

The bill hasn't been scheduled for a vote. Advocates say they're concerned it may not pass before lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn later this week.

 

Cuomo said Monday that he agrees changes are needed to ensure solitary confinement is humane, but he said he's concerned the bill may require the construction of new prison facilities.

 

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-york/articles/2019-06-18/mental-health-advocates-push-for-solitary-confinement-rules