“It didn’t take long for me to start seeing things that weren’t in my cell, to start having a conversation with no one there,” said Victor Pate, who campaigned for the legislation afterwards. have been released from prison. Mr Pate said he spent more than two years in solitary confinement during his 15 or so years in the system. “We never get over it. I’m not doing well from far.
Colorado banned the use of long-term solitary confinement in its prisons in 2017, and two years later New Jersey limited the use of solitary confinement to 20 consecutive days. At least 11 other states, including Georgia, Nebraska and New Mexico, also limited or prohibited punitive segregation for certain groups in 2019.
A massive campaign to limit the use of solitary confinement in New York City was launched more than eight years ago. But these efforts had long failed in Albany.
The state accepted in 2015, following a trial, changes that included improving living conditions in isolation.
A measure similar to the new law looked set to be passed in 2019, but ultimately died after the union’s rejection and a veto threat from Mr Cuomo, who raised concerns about the potential costs. high of the implementation of changes. (These projections were later challenged.) Instead, the governor agreed to roll out several less expansive administrative changes to alter the practice.
After Democrats secured a legislative supermajority in last November’s election, which helped overturn the governor’s veto, their efforts to push through the measure gained traction. In recent weeks, activists have held several rallies outside Mr. Cuomo’s office in Manhattan. The measure was passed by both houses with broad support this month, and some lawmakers have threatened to move forward even without Mr Cuomo’s signature.
As of Wednesday evening, it was unclear which aspects of the legislation, if any, might face changes.
Current legislation would limit the use of segregation to a maximum of 15 consecutive days, or a total of 20 days over a two-month period. Punitive segregation would be banned entirely for people under 22 or over 54, those who are pregnant, and people with mental and physical disabilities, among other groups.