Watch CBS News

New York City Council votes to end solitary confinement in city jails

New York City Council votes to end solitary confinement in city jails
New York City Council votes to end solitary confinement in city jails 00:21

NEW YORK -- The New York City Council voted Wednesday to end solitary confinement in city jails.

The bill passed on a vote of 6 to 1.

It requires those in custody be allowed at least 14 hours of time outside their cell in shared spaces.

An individual would only be separated from the general population if they are involved in a violent incident while in custody.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said in part in a statement:

"The physical and psychological harm caused by solitary confinement leads to increased death and violence in jails, endangering those incarcerated, as well as correction officers and staff. When formerly incarcerated New Yorkers eventually return to their communities, the lasting trauma of solitary confinement follows them home, and affects us all as neighbors and members of a shared community."

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who sponsored the bill, released the following statement:

"Solitary confinement is inhumane, and its presence in our city is indefensible. Committing an infraction in jail can cause you to lose privileges, not basic human rights. People in solitary are isolated, denied human contact and connection, denied support, and come out of these deplorable conditions worse than when they went in – and some don't come out at all. Banning solitary – not just in name, but in practice – is good for public safety. This bill will make our jails and our city safer, and correct an immoral injustice that has no place in New York. I thank the Speaker and City Council for their support of this bill, and thank the advocates and impacted people and families who have turned pain into purpose and brought us to this historic moment."

In recent years, city jails have limited the use of solitary confinement, but this is the first move to ban it entirely.

Mayor Eric Adams released a statement Wednesday saying in part:

"Our administration has achieved significant reductions in key indicators of violence in our correction system. And we have been clear: Our administration does not support solitary confinement in our jails, and New York City has not used the practice for years. But Intro. 549-A will also point us in the wrong direction. Under this bill, the Department of Correction will no longer be able to protect people in custody, or the predominantly Black and Brown union workers charged with their safety, from violent individuals. Furthermore, this bill raises serious potential conflicts with directions that the Department of Correction has received from the federal monitor ... We are reviewing all options."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.