New York Prisons Violate Solitary Confinement Law…and Other News on Solitary Confinement This Week

Seven Days in Solitary for the Week Ending 6/26/24

by | June 26, 2024

New this week from Solitary Watch:

The most recent fact sheet in our series covers children in solitary confinement. “Solitary confinement causes serious physical, neurological, and psychological harm to adults, and has even more dire effects on children, whose minds and bodies are still growing and developing,” the fact sheet states. “The United Nations classifies solitary confinement as cruel and inhumane treatment that often rises to the level of torture, and has called for a complete ban on placing children in solitary. Despite this fact, thousands of kids experience isolation every day in adult jails and prisons and in juvenile facilities.” Solitary Watch

• • •

This week’s pick of news and commentary about solitary confinement:

A judge has found that New York State prisons have been ignoring the legal limits placed on the use of solitary confinement. State laws mandate that if solitary is imposed for more than three days – to a maximum of fifteen days – a legitimate reason must be provided. A report from the Correctional Association of New York found that while the use of solitary confinement has been reduced in the four years since the passage of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act, people in solitary have been held for up to six times the legal limit. One of the plaintiffs of the suit, Luis Garcia, was held in solitary confinement for 730 days. In the class-action case filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the presiding judge has ordered the state to comply with the law and provide findings to justify extended solitary confinement. New York Times

• • •

The New York City Board of Correction (BOC) heard testimonies last Monday on the implementation of the city’s ban on solitary confinement, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 28th. At the end of last year’s legislative session, the New York City Council passed Local Law 42, which prevents incarcerated individuals from being held in solitary for more than four hours within a 24-hour period. City Councilmember Carlina Rivera said, “Advocates, experts, and employees inside the jail system agree that solitary does not make anyone safer – in fact, it only puts people further into harm’s way and is often a death sentence for the incarcerated.” At the BOC’s testimony, many proponents expressed fear that the Adams administration, which opposed the law, will not comply. Queens Daily Eagle

• • •

Five Venezuelan men in immigration detention in southern New Mexico say they were put in solitary confinement after staging a hunger strike. The men were a part of a larger group protesting U.S. policy which would send them back to Mexico, which is not their country of origin, and where they say they would likely face violence. One of the demonstrators said that in response to their strike, they were put in a cell with “several people” that was “two meters long by three steps wide,” with one demonstrator staying in solitary confinement for 45 days. The Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center (LAIAC) and ACLU-New Mexico have asked Homeland Security to release those that have faced retaliation, ensure no more retaliation, and carry out an investigation into the alleged abuses. Source NM

• • •

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) has reported a sudden termination of the free call minutes program at ICE detention facilities. These severe phone restrictions and inaccessibility have prompted hunger strikes amongst the jailed immigrant New Yorkers. The Legal Aid Society, Bronx Defenders, and Brooklyn Defender Services wrote in a statement, “ICE responded to those hunger striking with abhorrent retaliation and solitary confinement…We condemn ICE’s violent retaliation and urge ICE to restore phone access immediately.” The Legal Aid Society

• • •

A detention home in Galesburg, IL, is being accused of abusive use of solitary confinement in a class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Illinois on behalf of two current teenaged residents of the home. The suit alleges that the Mary Davis Detention Home, despite multiple warnings by the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ), have put residents that break rules in solitary confinement “for 23½ hours a day, for multiple days, at the whim of the staff who allegedly don’t inform residents of how long the confinement will last.” Audits by IDJJ have been conducted on the home four times in the last two years, which have found the home to be deficient in many categories. Journal Star

• • •

In 2023, record-breaking temperatures and heat waves across the country exacerbated already inhumane conditions in many prisons. Kwaneta Harris, a Texas woman incarcerated in solitary confinement for eight summers without air-conditioning, recalls the temperature reaching 129°F in her cell, so hot that some of her neighbors engaged in self harm in hopes of gaining entrance to the air-conditioned psych ward. Harris called for air-conditioning by writing multiple articles after the deaths of two people in Texas prisons in 2023. While she was successful, a cooling system was eventually installed, but Harris was subsequently moved out of solitary to another unit without air-conditioning. As 2024 is on pace for more heat waves and record-breaking highs, Harris urges Texans to reach out to their legislators and demand air-conditioning for those incarcerated. (Harris is a recipient of the Ridgeway Reporting Project grant from Solitary Watch.) The Austin Chronicle

• • •

Pulitzer Prize-winning and Grammy-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss her song titled, “Another Wasted Life,” inspired by the death of Kalief Browder, a Bronx resident who died by suicide after being held in solitary confinement on Rikers Island for years as a teenager for a crime he did not commit. The music video for Giddens’ song featured 22 people who were wrongly incarcerated, collectively serving more than 500 years for crimes they did not commit. Democracy Now!

• • •

Get this weekly roundup in your mail every Wednesday, covering the past seven days of solitary confinement news and commentary. Subscribe today.

The work we do is made possible by your support. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation—large or small—today


Solitary Watch encourages comments and welcomes a range of ideas, opinions, debates, and respectful disagreement. We do not allow name-calling, bullying, cursing, or personal attacks of any kind. Any embedded links should be to information relevant to the conversation. Comments that violate these guidelines will be removed, and repeat offenders will be blocked. Thank you for your cooperation.


  • New York jails and prisons have been violating all types of policies surrounding solitary. Most recent example is the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act. There is a need fir a massive social movement to end solitary confinement now.

  • Luis Soto

    After all these years I e finally read an article in which brought tears memories anger frustration and a sense of peace knowing that someone is addressing solitary confinement I’ve spent many minutes hours days and months isolated caged like an animal out of the 21 years I served and to this day old habits are hard to let go. God bless the editor and those who are there for us who where imprisoned in prison. Love is life life is love. Peace

Leave a Reply

Discover more from Solitary Watch

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading