Vera Institute of Justice Applauds NYS Legislature for Passing the H.A.L.T. Solitary Confinement Act and Calls on Governor Cuomo to Sign Into Law

Today, the New York State Legislature passed the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement (H.A.L.T.) Act and sent it to Governor Cuomo's desk for signature. We applaud the relentless years of work of many advocates, especially the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, that got us here. We urge the Governor to take action and sign H.A.L.T. Solitary without delay.

Restrictive housing, commonly known as solitary confinement, is widely used in U.S. prisons and jails to control incarcerated people and as punishment for varying levels of infractions. Incarcerated people who are vulnerable, have mental illnesses, or may need protection commonly end up in solitary. Vera's decade of technical assistance across the country and research on restrictive housing has found that time in solitary results in harmful outcomes, including higher rates of mental and physical health problems. The use of solitary does not make correctional facilities safer. The H.A.L.T. Solitary Confinement Act limits the use of segregated confinement for all incarcerated people to no more than 15 days, requires jails and prisons to provide alternatives to solitary, eliminates the use of restrictive housing with vulnerable populations, and expands the definition of solitary confinement in the state so that fewer people face isolating and degrading conditions behind bars.

“There is a growing body of evidence that shows that solitary is often deeply, permanently damaging to a person’s well-being and that it doesn’t make jails and prisons safer. We’re optimistic about the H.A.L.T. Act and the real change it represents within New York’s criminal legal system. The Governor should immediately sign the bill into law to promote the health and safety of all New Yorkers, including those in New York's jails and prisons,” said Jullian Harris-Calvin, director of Vera’s Greater Justice New York program.

About the Vera Institute of Justice:

The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice. Vera collaborates with the communities most impacted by these systems and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement change. Across projects, Vera is committed to explicitly and effectively reducing the burdens of the justice system on people of color and frames all work with an understanding of our country’s history of racial oppression. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, providing legal services for immigrants, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities. Vera has offices in Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

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