Last week we sent out an update urging organizations to sign up in support
of the HALT legislation that will end solitary confinement for individuals
with mental health diagnosis and other disabilities. Many of you have
signed on which is significant. We need more sign to enhance the bandwidth
of the campaign. Today, the HALT advocates came to Albany and raised the
visibility of the issue. We need your help. Please let me know if your
agency can sign on to join the campaign. Thank you very much.
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.
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.
There are so many ways in which solitary confinement is a mental health
issue, not only for because many of the individuals who end up in solitary
confinement have existing mental health issues but also there are many
individuals that develop mental health 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.