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October 18, 2017

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that the State Commission of Correction will issue new regulations to increase transparency about the use of solitary confinement in local jails.

The regulations will require individuals spend no more than 20 hours in solitary confinement, or 19 hours if they are under 18 or pregnant, unless the jail administrator issues a written exemption; reporting when anyone who is pregnant or under the age of 18 is placed in solitary; reporting when anyone is placed into solitary confinement for more than 30 days; and reporting of any restrictions or denials of essential services to individuals in solitary confinement.
 
Jail administrators will still have the discretion to use solitary confinement. The regulations will be published in the State Register and be subject to public comment before going into effect.
 
The following statement is attributable to New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman:
 
“We appreciate Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to limit the imposition of solitary confinement in local jails and provide much needed transparency. These regulations are an important step toward shining a light on conditions in local jails — where the vast majority of inmates are awaiting trial and presumed innocent. 
 
"The NYCLU will press the state to follow through to ensure meaningful oversight and to protect vulnerable young people, pregnant women. people with mental illness and those with intellectual disabilities from the traumas of solitary confinement."

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