The City banned solitary confinement for young prisoners three years ago (in 2015) citing the adverse effect of such confinement on young offenders. The new policy expanded on an existing one that disallowed the practice for individuals 17-years-old and younger. The policy shift was part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt to reform the prison system in New York City and reduce or even eliminate the potential for Civil Rights violations involving incarcerated individuals. However, an investigation reveals that the city is still housing young offenders in solitary confinement situations spurring advocates to shine a light on these potential Civil Rights violations in New York City once again.
The rule was designed to keep young offenders-younger than 21-years-old-out of solitary confinement within New York City. However, an investigation into current incarceration practices shows that alleged offenders arrested within NYC are being transferred to correctional facilities outside the city which are not governed by that rule. The effect is that some young inmates are indeed being held in solitary confinement in direct conflict with NYC’s own policies on the matter.
This year alone 8 inmates under the age of 21 have been placed in solitary confinement in correctional facilities outside NYC.
Studies have shown that solitary confinement increases the chances of self-harm (including suicide) and can contribute to depression and other mental health issues. Advocates and elected officials have stated that refinements made at the Rikers Island incarceration facilities are essential to protect inmates from unnecessary mental anguish.
Violations of Civil Rights occur within the prison system in New York City. Rikers Island has come under national scrutiny for several high-profile incidents that have ended with an inmate’s death, leading advocates to call for the facility’s closing.
If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a New York City jail or at Rikers Island or believe that the practices there have infringed upon your rights, contact an experienced New York City Civil Rights attorney today. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 right now.