New York Times OpED by JJ Parish and Richard Sawyer

27 Jun New York Times OpED by JJ Parish and Richard Sawyer

New York Times OpED: Published June 27, 2012

To the Editor:

The Abuse of Solitary Confinement” (editorial, June 21) elegantly summarizes the case against solitary confinement in our country’s jails and prisons. Solitary confinement increases prison violence and promotes suffering and mental illness. Ending solitary confinement will reduce violence and save money.

New York City offers a case in point for a coherent national policy against solitary confinement. The city’s Department of Correction primarily houses pretrial detainees — people who are innocent until proved guilty — and subjects ever more of them to solitary confinement.

Ironically, the city forces people with serious mental illness into solitary even though they would be spared such treatment in the prison system upstate.

It is time that the United States and New York City conform to international norms by ending the use of solitary confinement as a jail punishment.

New York, June 21, 2012

The writers are members of the New York City Jails Action Coalition.