Solitary Confinement is one of the most egregious punishments we inflict on individuals to date that is fully legal under New York State law. The United Nation in their Mandela Report considered any solitary confinement that lasted more than 15 days to be torture - and yet in New York State prisons there are people who have spent the last 17 years in 23 hours of isolation a day.
This practice has not proven effective at rehabilitating people and from many accounts has caused mental deterioration, suicide, and paranoia in inmates. Countries without solitary confinement boast low rates of recidivism and focus their attention on rehabilitating inmates with an aim towards teaching them empathy, forgiveness and how to manage a work/life balance so they are released as productive and capable members of society - with social programs that help with re-entry that are implemented at the beginning of their incarceration and continue through their release.
This week Roc/ACTS held a phonebank to support ending the use of Solitary Confinement and visited State Senator Joe Robach's staff to share stories of affected people and encourage his office to review legislation around this issue. A huge thanks to those who participated!