More than 200 advocates and several legislators are calling for restricting solitary confinement for state inmates, citing a United Nations expert’s conclusion that more than 15 days damages people mentally.
They say more than 4,000 of New York’s approximately 53,000 state inmates are in so-called special housing units in its 54 prisons, most for non-violent rule infractions.
One bill, recently passed by the Assembly, would generally prohibit solitary confinement for pregnant and nursing mothers.
It’s intended to codify a lawsuit settlement last year between state corrections officials and the New York Civil Liberties Union establishing a presumption against doing it.
Sponsors say that law would also affect local jails.
Another bill would prohibit isolating young, elderly and developmentally disabled inmates and set 15-day limits for others.