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TWO CHEERS: Solitary confinement is now legally banned throughout jails in New York City in major win for reform advocates

New York City ‘s council has decidedly moved to ban solitary confinement after a veto-proof vote took place to greenlight a new law. According to the legislation, in most instances solitary confinement is now banned throughout jails in the boroughs (with a minor few changes.)

Solitary confinement is generally defined as a prisoner being placed in a confined area for very long periods of time. Experts alike the United Nations agree that this form of punishment has long been considered a form of inhumane torture which usually leaves people with terrifying and often long-lasting trouble even after reintegrating back into society.

According to reports, it was that thinking that launched the new legislation in an effort to tackle one of New York City ‘s greatest struggles. Solitary confinement has disproportionately been used against minorities and people of colour over the years, famously in one case involving a 16-year-old child who later killed himself due to the unimaginable trauma left behind after a stint at Rikers Island in 2015.

In the revised version of solitary confinement rules, inmates may only be kept in confinement for up to four hours at a time (unless they truly pose a risk to themselves or others.) Inmates who do pose a major danger will still be fairly allowed to access services like everyone else but will have to spend up to 14 hours in confinement a day before being owed time outside.

The announcement (see here from the council ‘s website) has drawn ire from Eric Adams a former NYPD police captain. who whole-heartedly supports solitary confinement. Adams has vowed to veto the legislation, however, the council appears to have enough votes for such to hold.

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