Dromm pushes for new solitary confinement regulations

The NYCLU recreated a solitary confinement cell last year to show the close quarters some prisoners spend up to 23 hours a day in. Credit: Alison Bowen.
The NYCLU recreated a solitary confinement cell last year to show the close quarters some prisoners spend up to 23 hours a day in. Credit: Alison Bowen

City Councilman Daniel Dromm will introduce two bills Tuesday to regulate the practice of solitary confinement in New York City jails.

One bill calls on the Department of Correction to file comprehensive reports on solitary confinement, and the second calls for an end to the practice of putting people returning to jail into solitary confinement to complete time owed from their previous period of incarceration.

The New York City Jails Action Coalition is also pushing for rules that would prohibit the DOC from putting people with mental and physical disabilities, juveniles and young people in solitary confinement, and narrow the allowable reasons for using solitary confinement so that it is only used to prevent violent conduct among prisoners. They also want to increase the amount of time prisoners in solitary confinement get to spend outside of their cells daily.

A New York Civil Liberties Union reporter last year found that the majority of solitary confinement prisoners in New York state end up in solitary for minor infractions, such as talking back to guards or tattooing themselves. One person was reportedly placed in solitary for using too many postage stamps.

Just 16 percent of solitary confinement prisoners were placed there because of violence or weapons.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



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