Mary Lynne Werlwas, Director of the Prisoners’ Rights Project at The Legal Aid Society, issued the following statement this morning urging the City to immediately end prolonged solitary confinement at Rikers Island and other local jails:
“The science is clear: prolonged isolated confinement is torture, and it damages human minds and bodies. The failure of New York State to pass the HALT Solitary Act makes it more urgent that New York City take action to end this human rights abuse in its own jails.
The New York City Department of Correction over-relies on prolonged isolated confinement—a practice that violates international law, disproportionately harms communities of color, and has not made the jails safer.
New York City must limit the time people can spend in isolated confinement, strengthen due process protections, and ensure that basic human needs for contact are met with a meaningful amount of time out of a cell. The torture that is prolonged solitary confinement should be illegal in New York.”