New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Enter Agreement with New York Civil Liberties Union

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) entered into a settlement agreement with the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) that will divert and significantly limit the use of solitary confinement for youth with intellectual disabilities and others.  Under the agreement, DOCCS must develop a Correctional Alternative Rehabilitation program that provides an alternative to isolation for youth with intellectual disabilities.  When youth are placed in solitary confinement, they typically spend 23 hours of each day in a cell.  NYCLU produced a report about New York’s use of solitary confinement in 2012 that indicated that 3,800 individuals were in isolation for breaking prison rules.  The report said that many individuals were placed in isolation due to nonviolent infractions such as failure to obey orders, lying, or destruction of state property.  The report said that from 2007 to 2011, New York placed individuals in isolation for an average of five months.  The settlement agreement requires New York to develop sentencing guidelines and maximum isolation sentences for the first time.

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