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Pass #HALTsolitary now!

by The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement category: Cause

“#SpeakerHeastie: Help us end the torture of solitary confinement for ALL New Yorkers. Pass #HALTsolitary now! http://thndr.me/m8sS3Z

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The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement
Supporters
178 of 100
178% of goal supported
Social Reach
227,002
People
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This campaign ended on May 23, 2017 at 12PM

Pass #HALTsolitary now!

The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) is organizing, educating and agitating to end the torture of solitary confinement for all New Yorkers. We are working to pass the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act  (A.3080 / S.4784 – bill summary here) and we need your help! 

Currently, more than 4,500 New Yorkers are in solitary confinement in prisons and jails across the state. They spend 22 - 24 hours a day locked in a cell the size of an elevator with no meaningful human interaction.  The sensory deprivation, lack of normal human interaction, and extreme idleness can lead to intense suffering and severe psychological damage. Isolated confinement fails to address the underlying causes of problematic behavior, and often exacerbates that behavior as people deteriorate psychologically, physically, and socially. Over 40% of all suicides in NY prisons in 2014 and 2015 took place in solitary, though only 9% of all people in prison are in solitary.

The entire United Nations General Assembly has denounced solitary exceeding 15 days as torture. In 2015, the US government voted for, and the entire United Nations adopted, the Mandela Rules, which
prohibit any person from being held in solitary beyond 15 days. New York currently places no limit on the total time a person can spend in isolated confinement, and people are regularly isolated for months, years and even decades.

Solitary confinement is a tool of racial oppression. Black people represent about 13% of all people in NYS, but represent 50% of those incarcerated in NYS, and 60% of people held in long-term solitary confinement units in NY. 

Young people and people with mental illness are disproportionately likely to be put in isolation. Over 870 people on the Office of Mental Health caseload remain in solitary in SHU each day (more than 20% of all people in SHU) – the highest absolute number and percentage ever in NY’s history. Pregnant women, new mothers, elderly people, and people with severe physical disabilities are held in isolation in NYS; members of the LGBTI community are often placed in solitary purportedly for their own protection and have suffered additional staff abuse while in isolation.

 Corrections officers are not sufficiently trained to address people’s needs or problematic behavior; as a result, the default response is to write a disciplinary ticket for an alleged rule violation. Hearings by DOCCS employees to adjudicate disciplinary tickets that result in isolated confinement are arbitrary and unfair: 95% of people charged with these rule violations are found guilty. These processes occur within the closed prison system, with little public reporting by DOCCS.

We have more than enough support to get #HALTsolitary passed in the State Assembly, including from the relevant Committee Chairs. But the Assembly has thus far only passed a far weaker bill that would leave thousands of New Yorkers in solitary confinement indefinitely. (We support it as a step in the right direction, but our focus in on passing HALT.) Please sign up for this Thunderclap and help us persuade Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who has said criminal justice reform is his top priority, to support HALT.

Thank you!



Organizer

The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement
@nycaic

The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) brings together advocates, formerly incarcerated persons, family members of currently incarcerated people, concerned community members, lawyers, and individuals in the human rights, health, and faith communities throughout New York State. Through statewide actions, petitioning legislators to support the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, and educating their communities about the torture of solitary confinement, CAIC members advocate for an end to the torture of solitary confinement for all people. Learn more at www.nycaic.org.

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