New Proposals On Solitary Confinement Are Woefully Inadequate

October 28, 2019

Disability Justice, Legislative, News

New rules on solitary confinement in New York still constitute torture under international law, allow for solitary confinement to be too long, and to target vulnerable individuals whose mental health will suffer unconstitutionally as a result.

Our Disability Justice and Environmental Justice Fellow Ruthie Lazenby submitted comments to this effect this week about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed rule on solitary confinement in state and local jails.

The Governor’s proposed rules are “woefully inadequate”, Ruthie testified, arguing that the proposed rule still permits solitary confinement for periods of time that constitute torture under international law. The rule also allows prolonged solitary confinement for insufficient reasons, and for it to be inflicted on vulnerable populations, including elderly people and young people, who are particularly susceptible to deteriorating mental health. We believe that the proposed rule must be amended to reflect the 15-day maximum, and to check the broad discretion to circumvent the time limits that exist as the rule is currently written.

You can read Ruthie’s testimony before the New York State Commission of Correction here, and before the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision here.

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