Over 13,000 New Yorkers are incarcerated on Rikers Island and in other city jails each day. Over 9,700 of those incarcerated each day are pre-trial detainees who are being held without being convicted of a crime. Most are there because they cannot afford bail.
People being held in New York City jails face solitary confinement, inadequate mental health services and a culture of brutality carried out by correction officers.
We oppose the overuse and expansion of solitary confinement in the city jails. Solitary confinement (what the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) refers to as “punitive segregation”) is used to punish people who violate jail rules by confining them for 23 hours a day alone in a cell isolated from social interaction and deprived of environmental stimulation.
Solitary confinement has devastating effects on an individual’s mental well-being, and in certain circumstance can amount to torture. DOC has already increased punitive segregation by 44% and has plans to create more than 1200 beds by the end of 2013 – giving New York City one of the highest rates of punitive segregation in the country.
People who are incarcerated should not be subjected to such an inhumane practice. We encourage you to help us end the use of solitary confinement in New York City jails and create more opportunities for rehabilitative services to promote reintegration.
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