For many years, incarcerated New Yorkers have been subjected to months, years, and even decades of solitary confinement. This is many times longer than the threshold at which the United Nations defines it as torture, which is 15 days, and many people received multiple consecutive sentences and remain in solitary far longer. Even shorter periods in solitary can cause severe and lasting physical and mental harm, including psychosis, self-harm, and death. In March of 2021, after a near decade-long campaign by survivors of solitary confinement, families who have lost their loved ones, families with loved ones currently in solitary and defenders and other advocates, the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (S2836/A2277) was finally signed into law. This historic action to limit the use of solitary confinement in New York State’s prisons and jails takes our state closer to addressing this ongoing human rights crisis. At the city level, Rikers has multiple names for what amounts to solitary confinement, thus full implementation of HALT throughout New York's jails and prisons is critical.
HALT Solitary: The Walls Are Closing In On Me, Suicide and Self-Harm in New York State’s Solitary Confinement Units Report
New York Times Article: New York Will End Long-Term Solitary Confinement in Prisons and Jails
HALT Solitary: Solitary Confinement Act Fact Sheet