02 Apr NYC Council Introduces Bill to Mandate Reporting on Solitary Confinement Practices in NYC Jails
NYC Council Bill aims to reduce solitary confinement
Former inmate says years in the ‘box’ affect sleep, induce paranoia
…A new bill introduced by Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) would require the Department of Correction to post a monthly report on its website about punitive segregation. Read and download a copy of the full bill here:
If passed the bill would require data on the number of people in punitive segregation, the length of time in this setting, the nature of the infractions, age, mental health, if they were prescribed medication or moved to a hospital, violence against self and others and inmate requests.
The bill, which was introduced on March 2, has 17 signatures including two from fellow Queens Councilmen Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Peter Koo (D-Flushing). Norman Seabrook, president of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, the prison employees’ union, did not have a problem with such a bill, saying the information is recorded already.
Councilwoman and Chairwoman of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) did not respond to requests for an interview, but sent a comment.
“I am supportive of measures that will improve conditions in our City’s jails,” Crowley said. “Making the jail facilities safer for inmates and correction officers has been a major focus, and I look forward to discussing any proposed bills with those goals in sight.”
Dromm has issued a separate resolution seeking to end the practice of time owed. For example, an inmate, because of good behavior or other reasons, might only have served 100 of his or her 180-day sentence in solitary and then was released. A few years or even decades later the person is rearrested. Under current rules he or she must complete those unserved 80 days in solitary.
The resolution is only a request, because the Council does not have the authority to make the Department of Correction adhere.