|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] New York just never learns - New York City
New York City Council Eyes Bill to End Solitary Confinement
Nearly six months after Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to end solitary
confinement as a means of punishment in New York City’s jail system, the
city council this week is set to begin fast-tracking the process by
reviewing new legislation to halt the controversial practice.
Councilman Daniel Dromm, a Queens Democrat, is introducing a bill at
Thursday’s council meeting that would prohibit inmates from being locked
in an isolated cell for violent offenses—except for up to four hours
whenever it is necessary to “de-escalate immediate conflict,” according
to a review of the legislation.
Under current city law, solitary confinement, also known as punitive
segregation, allows inmates to be locked in cells up to 20 hours a day
for serious offenses.
“Solitary confinement is torture in the truer sense of the word,” Mr.
Dromm said in an interview Tuesday. “Depriving people of human contact
for long periods of time is un-American, and we shouldn’t be engaging in
The city’s Department of Correction referred requests for comment to the
Mr. De Blasio in June pledged to have New York become the first major
city in the country to halt solitary confinement, and he set up a panel
to come up with a plan, but it has yet to announce any recommendations.
Since he took office in 2014, the city’s jail system has significantly
reduced its use of solitary confinement and the overall inmate
population. As of Monday, there were 65 people in punitive segregation,
compared with a daily average of 567 in 2014, according to the
Department of Correction.
Mayoral spokeswoman Avery Cohen said in a statement that the mayor’s
office is committed to ending punitive segregation and would “continue
working with stakeholders in government and those with lived experience
to create a system that ensures the safety and well-being of staff and
people in custody.”
Punitive segregation has come under fire from criminal-justice advocates
who say it’s inhumane. But law-enforcement advocates, including the
Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, the union representing city
correction staff, say it is a necessary deterrent to keep violent
inmates in line and jails safe.
On Friday, the council’s committee on criminal justice will hold a
hearing on the bill, which Mr. Dromm believes has enough support to
The prompt scheduling of the hearing by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, a
Democrat, only a day after the bill’s scheduled introduction has raised
concerns among some council members and the correction officers union.
They say the legislation is being rushed into law for political reasons
at the risk of endangering jail staff.
Historically, bills usually sit for weeks or months—and sometimes more
than a year—before the council speaker’s office schedules a hearing to
field testimony from city agencies and other affected parties.
Both Mr. Johnson and Councilman Keith Powers, a Manhattan Democrat who
chairs the criminal justice committee, said they support ending solitary
“This bill is being heard because it’s ready and will continue to go
through the legislative process,” a spokeswoman for Mr. Johnson said.
“There’s nothing unusual about that.”
The legislation would still allow the city to keep detainees in other
types of restrictive housing separated from a prison’s general
population. Under the proposal, inmates in restrictive housing could
leave their cells at least 10 hours a day, compared with 14 hours for a
jail’s general population.
The city’s Rikers Island jail complex currently allows inmates in
restrictive housing to leave cells for seven hours.
Six council members sent a letter to Johnson on Monday expressing “great
concern regarding how quickly” the bill is getting a public hearing. The
letter cited a series of recent attacks by inmates on correction officers.
“We firmly believe that rushing to pass a bill of this magnitude would
have serious implications for the safety of our jails and could actually
result in increased violence,” said the letter written by Robert Holden,
a Queens Democrat, and cosigned by three Republicans and two other
COBA President Benny Boscio Jr. accused Mr. Johnson of fast-tracking the
bill into law in order to eclipse Mr. de Blasio politically on the issue.
“Speaker Corey Johnson is once again trying to beat the mayor in a race
to ban punitive segregation entirely, which will only increase violent
assaults on correction officers and non-violent inmates,” he said.
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town
that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
Being so tracked is for FARM ANIMALS and extermination camps,
but incompatible with living as a free human being. -RI Safir 2013
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