Over 12,000 New Yorkers are incarcerated on Rikers Island and in other city jails each day. Over 9,700 of those incarcerated daily are pre-trial detainees who are being held without being convicted of a crime. Most are there because they cannot afford bail. People being held in New York City jails face solitary confinement, inadequate mental health services and a culture of brutality carried out by correction officers.

JAC is a coalition of activists that includes formerly incarcerated and currently incarcerated people, family members and other community members who are working to promote human rights, dignity and safety for people in New York City jails. Our goals include: 1.) Increasing transparency in DOC policies in NYC jails & accountability for DOC practices and abuses.  2.) Ending the use of solitary confinement (SHU, the Box, the Bing, punitive segregation) in NYC jails and opposing the DOC’s planned increase in solitary confinement cells.  3.)  Addressing the physical and mental health needs of people in NYC jails and ensuring access to continuing care in the community upon release.  4.)  Advocating for more rehabilitative services in NYC jails to promote reintegration. 5.)  Fighting against the racist and discriminatory policies leading to mass incarceration. ANYONE CAN JOIN: WE WELCOME ALL.

Click Here to learn more about us OR Here to join one of our committees

President Obama has put an end to placing teenagers under the age of 21 in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT in FEDERAL PRISONS. WHAT IS THE STATUS of  SIMILAR REFORMS FOR TEENS IN SOLITARY IN NYC JAILS? REVIEW JAC’s ADVOCACY on this topic:

TIMELINE: JAC Pushes for Solitary Confinement Reform in NYC Jails. What is going on with the Board of Correction’s promise to reform this method of torture used on Rikers Island for Teens and Adults.

LEARN WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP THE ABUSES

ACTIONS/EVENTS

(CAIC) Campaign Against Isolated Confinement NY OPEN MIC and SPEAK OUT against Solitary!

(CAIC) Campaign Against Isolated Confinement NY OPEN MIC and SPEAK OUT against Solitary!

Saturday Afternoon 2.06.2016 3:00 pm @ Pilgrim Cathedral at 15 West 126th Street in Harlem.  Food and CASH Prize will be awarded for best song, verse, poem, skit, spoken word performance or expression(s) against torture in NY jails and prisons.

Art Therapist & JAC member BRITTNEY KATHRYN KNAPP’S ARTIST STATEMENT: “As an artist, and as a survivor of institutional rape, I thought it was important to dive into the making of this artwork without fear, as fear is what has held many of us from speaking out on this issue in the past.  Although the images are powerful and bring up painful feelings, I felt it was important to challenge the stigma that has repelled people from addressing this epidemic, and create a more literal visual representation of the specific issues faced by women who have been sexually abused in  jails,.  Without freedom, incarcerated women are especially vulnerable, and often their basic needs are unmet.  Corrections officers are given the position of caregivers, assigned to protect incarcerated people.  Officers who sexually abuse the individuals they are responsible for prey on the powerless.  For many victims of sexual violence in jail there seems to be no escape from their attackers, and fear of continued abuse keeps them from reporting the crimes.  Fear, shame, guilt and helplessness are some of the emotions I have touched on in the narrative of my artwork.  Although many survivors have been bound by these emotions in the past, facing the reality of this epidemic head on can lead to empowerment, raise awareness and propel further actions to end sexual violence in New York City jails.”

SPOTLIGHT PETITION

UPCOMING MEETINGS

THE NEXT JAC GENERAL MEETING IS BEING RESCHEDULED DUE TO THE WEATHER. The next JAC general meeting will take place this coming Monday, 02.01.2016 @ 6:30pm. Location: Brooklyn Defender Services 177 Livingston St. Brooklyn, 7th floor.

POLICY COMMITTEE CONFERENCE CALL:   Thursday, 1.28.2016 at 4 p.m. Agenda to be circulated by the afternoon of Tuesday 1.26.2016

ACTION COMMITTEE MEETING: TBA

COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING: The next Communications Committee meeting will be rescheduled soon!

VOICES FROM THE BOX
RAPE AT RIKERS

Read about

A PERVASIVE CULTURE OF RAPE

including a current lawsuit against Rikers:

TWO WOMEN ALLEGE REPEATED ACTS OF RAPE

DOC ARE UNPREPARED FOR COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON WOMEN’S ISSUES

DOC ARE UNPREPARED FOR COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON WOMEN’S ISSUES

The Chairs of the Fire & Safety and the Women’s Issues Committee respectively,  Elizabeth Crowley and Laurie Cumbo, called a hearing on 12.15.15  to understand the conditions of women at Rikers but the Department of Corrections Came Woefully Unprepared.

RECENT NEWS

Picture of 12 Women Who Were Molested by NYC Corrections Officers During Jail Visits

NYC Jail Visitors Say They Were Victimized During Visits

Watch the Video
by Sarah Wallace
If you were sexually harassed while visiting a detainee and want to register a complaint:
Please email Grace Price at the Urban Justice Center at GPrice@urbanjustice.org
and/or contact the Department of Investigations at 212-825-5959 or complaint@DOI.NYC.GOV

COBA President Norman Seabrook & Commissioner Ponte Want to Delay Ending Isolation for Young Adults

COBA President Norman Seabrook & Commissioner Ponte Want to Delay Ending Isolation for Young Adults

On 1.11.16 the NYC Department of Correction’s Commissioner, Joseph Ponte submitted a Variance Request to the NYC Board of Correction asking for a six-month delay in removing teenagers from torturous Solitary Confinement:

“Pursuant to §1-15(b)(1)(i) of the New York City Board of Correction’s (“Board”) minimum standards, the New York City Department of Correction (“Department”) requests a limited variance until June 1, 2016 from the BOC Minimum Standards §1-17(b)(1)(ii) which requires as of January 1, 2016, the exclusion of inmates ages 18 through 21 from punitive segregation, for the purpose of implementing the newly created Young Adult Strategy….”

New York Times: “New York Jail Agency Seeks to Delay Ending Isolation for Young Adults

``How the Landmark Settlement Will—and Will Not—Change Solitary Confinement in New York's Prisons``

``How the Landmark Settlement Will—and Will Not—Change Solitary Confinement in New York's Prisons``

Read here to educate yourself about the implications of the People’s Settlement.

DESPITE JAC & other Advocates Blasting DOC Rule Change Proposal BOC votes to approve amended Rule Change and Variance.  So many different voices were heard during the past five hearings and meetings but the message was the same:  NYC rejects DOC’s plan of dehumanization and torture. We will no longer tolerate the criminalization of people visiting loved ones on Rikers OR the psychological and physical abuse and torture of people incarcerated there.  DESPITE  Gov. Cuomo’s recent prohibition on Solitary Confinement and its offspring (ESHU, et al) the NYC BOC voted on 12.16.2015 to approve continued use of “The BING” beyond the 30-day proscription voted on in January of 2015 and heralded by the mayor and city press corps as a dramatic improvement for the rights of detainees and prisoners held in city jails…

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently signed legislation relating to the restraint of pregnant inmates. The bill (A.6430-A/S.983-A) prohibits the use of restraints during the transport of all pregnant inmates at State and local correctional facilities, and within eight weeks after the delivery or pregnancy outcome, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. READ FULL PRESS RELEASE FROM NY GOVERNOR’S OFFICE HERE:

Get to know YOUR BOC NYC!
JAC SPOTLIGHT EDITORIAL
The Daniel Holtzclaws of Rikers Island: Staff Sex Abuse Crisis in City Jails by Nick Malinowski, Social Worker & Journalist THE HUFFINGTON POST, 12.15.2015

The Daniel Holtzclaws of Rikers Island: Staff Sex Abuse Crisis in City Jails by Nick Malinowski, Social Worker & Journalist THE HUFFINGTON POST, 12.15.2015

Over the past week people across the United States expressed outrage upon learning of the trial and subsequent conviction of Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma City Police Department officer who raped, stalked and assaulted 13 women while on duty and now faces up to 263 years in prison. A similar story is unfolding in New York City. In May, two women filed suit in federal court against their attacker, an on-duty corrections guard at Rose M. Singer Center – the female-only jail on Rikers Island. The New York women, who are remaining anonymous because of fear of retribution, accuse Benny Santiago of repeatedly raping them and threatening them and their families to not report the assaults.  READ FULL TEXT HERE

BIG APPLE HEROES

“This past Wednesday, 12.16.2015 the BOC voted to approve an egregiously inhumane proposed rule change which included a provision allowing the Department to extend time in punitive segregation for serious assault on an officer. To be considered a serious assault, the attack must cause one or more serious injuries. Once the person has been in segregation for 45 days, the Department must conduct a review to determine if he or she can be placed in another type of housing without jeopardizing others. If, during or after those 60 days, the person continues to engage in persistent acts of violence and no alternative housing can be found, the Department can keep him or her in segregation.  THE ONLY TWO BOC MEMBERS TO VOTE AGAINST THIS RULE WERE BRYANNE HAMILL AND BOBBY COHEN:

“There’s a sense that we’re rolling back a lot on the reforms we’ve accomplished,” said Board member and retired family court judge Bryanne Hamill. The lion’s share of her colleagues disagreed. While the rule was modified to extend segregation only for persistent acts of serious violence, the Board passed the rule with a vote of six to two.”  READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

JAC BIG APPLE BAD APPLES
BAD APPLES
BLOG ARCHIVE