Every day thousands of people in New York State prisons, mostly people of color, are held in 23-hour isolation for months, sometimes years, at a time. As solitary confinement has come under increasing scrutiny, institutions around the world have been turning away from the practice, and New York must join them. There are two proposals to reform the use of solitary in New York State prisons: a state bill called the HALT Act and regulatory amendments put forward by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), the agency that runs prisons in New York State. Both address problematic aspects of solitary confinement, but we believe that HALT is the more meaningful option for reform.
Using never-before-released data, this report reveals the current state of solitary confinement in New York State prisons, including the impact of the Peoples settlement, the NYCLU’s 2012 lawsuit against DOCCS. This analysis also assesses the impacts of the HALT Act and DOCCS’ proposal.