Albany – Today, the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act was signed into law in New York State, enacting a long-sought-after limit on the practice following an eight-year long campaign by members of the legislature and advocacy organizations.
Sponsored by Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry, the legislation was shepherded out of the Correction Committee by Assemblymember David I. Weprin, the chair of the committee. The State Senate sponsor was Senator Julia Salazar.
“Solitary confinement is inhumane and unfair in any situation. Today, New York State took a big step in correcting this injustice,” said Chair David Weprin. “The stories of those who have endured such treatment have been heartbreaking to hear and I am proud to have played a role in ending this brutal practice for New York’s incarcerated individuals and their families.”
“New York State has put an end to the inhumane and counterproductive practice of prolonged solitary confinement,” said Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry. “I want to thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for bringing the HALT bill up for a vote. Solitary confinement has been established by the United Nations as a method of torture. The HALT Act will not eliminate this practice, but it will regulate the use of solitary confinement in a way which we think is conducive to the long-term betterment of both those who are incarcerated as well as the communities they return to. HALT will improve conditions of confinement and help create more humane and effective alternatives to confinement.”
When the law goes into effect one year from today, the practice of solitary confinement will be limited to 15 days and certain vulnerable populations, such as pregnant, juvenile, or elderly incarcerated people, will not be placed in confinement at all. HALT Solitary is an essential component of criminal justice reform, ending a practice that has caused damage to the mental health and physical well-being of incarcerated individuals.