The Campaign for Alternatives to Solitary Confinement (CAIC)
has led the charge to diminish the significance of
Solitary Confinement practices in New York State, pushing for the HALT
Solitary Confinement Act, A. 3080 / S. 4784
For those unfamiliar with the legislation, HALT stands for Humane
Alternatives to Long Term Solitary Confinement. In mental health, NYAPRS
has taken a real leadership role as has NAMI, and to succeed we will need
broad based support across all sectors.
Currently in New York State, there is no limit on how long someone can be
in solitary confinement (The SHU or keeplock). Many people spend months and
years there. Some people have spent decades in solitary in NY. The HALT
legislation would insure that anyone with a diagnosed mental illness,
physical disability, LBGT individual, pregnant woman or anyone under age 21
or over 55 would not be placed in solitary confinement. There would be
alternative Residential Rehab Units set up for those individuals.
In addition, this legislation would limit to 15 consecutive days or no more
than 20 over 60 days to any individual in prison who could be confined in
the SHU, which is consistent with the United Nations Mandela Guidelines.
Again, if someone needed to be separated from the general prison population
because of real safety concerns, the person would go to an alternative unit
with access to out-of-cell programming aimed at addressing the underlying
issues they are facing.
In many ways solitary is a mental health issue as many of the individuals
who end up in solitary confinement have existing mental health issues or
people develop these issues after spending time in solitary. We are trying
to garner enough statewide support from members and our colleagues to raise
the bandwidth of supporters across New York State.
*Please let me know if you are able to sign on and I will pass along to the
Thank you as always for your advocacy and support.
Glenn Liebman, CEO