ALBANY, N.Y. – Inmates can no longer spend more than 15 days in solitary confinement at state correctional facilities, according to a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday.
Prior to this, there was no set limit on how long a prisoner could be held in solitary confinement.
The HALT Solitary Confinement Act also reduces the number of infractions that make an inmate eligible for segregated confinement, and make certain people exempt from the punishment, including the young, elderly, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and individuals with a serious mental illness.
"Generations of incarcerated men and women have been subjected to inhumane punishment in segregated confinement with little to no human interaction for extended periods of time and many experience emotional and physical trauma that can last for years," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "By signing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act into law, we are reforming New York's criminal justice system by helping ensure the effective implementation of proven, humane corrections policies.”
The law also establishes Residential Rehabilitation Units, which give prisoners access to therapeutic programming in a congregate setting, to help address the actions that led to the disciplinary action.
Staff will also undergo additional training on de-escalation techniques, implicit bias, trauma-informed care and dispute resolution.