The goal of the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) is sweeping reform of New York’s use of solitary confinement and other forms of extreme isolation in state prisons and local jails.

Isolated confinement involves confining people in a cell for 22 to 24 hours a day without meaningful human contact, programming, or therapy. This practice is ineffective, counterproductive, unsafe, and inhumane, and it causes people detained in these conditions to deteriorate psychologically, physically, and socially. Despite these facts, New York utilizes isolated confinement at rates well above the national average.

Close to 4,000 men, women, and children are in isolated confinement in New York's state prisons.
Some 1,000 people are in solitary confinement in New York City's jails.
Most of New York's isolation cells are smaller than a parking space.
Individuals can spend months, years, or decades in isolated confinement.
Solitary confinement in excess of 15 days is widely considered to be torture.
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THE CAIC BLOG: NEWS AND VIEWS ON ISOLATED CONFINEMENT IN NEW YORK

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NEWS: New York Advocates Offer Testimony to Assembly Hearings on Mental Health in Prisons and Jails

Several key supporters of CAIC presented or submitted testimony to the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Corrections and Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, which held a joint hearing on “Public Hearing on Mental Illness in Correctional Settings” in Albany on November 13, 2014. A collection of testimony appears below, and will be permanently archived […]

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NEWS: New York Lawmakers Probe Care for Mentally Ill in Prison

By Michael Virtanen. Reprinted from the Associated Press.  The head of the troubled New York City jail system said Thursday it’s critical to send mentally ill inmates to treatment programs instead of a lockup. Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte told state lawmakers that Rikers Island is poorly equipped to be a mental health treatment […]

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VOICES: A Mouse and a Murderer

By William Blake. Reprinted from Solitary Watch. William Blake is in solitary confinement at Elmira Correctional Facility in upstate New York. In 1987, while in county court on a drug charge, Blake, then 23, grabbed a gun from a sheriff’s deputy and, in a failed escape attempt, murdered one deputy and wounded another. He is […]

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NEWS: New York City Officials and Advocates Push for Change to the “Culture of Brutality” on Rikers Island

By Savannah Crowley. Excerpted from Solitary Watch. Update, 8/22/14:  On Thursday, August 21, the New York City Council passed legislation introduced by Councilman Danny Dromm of Queens that would require corrections officials to release quarterly reports documenting information about inmates being held in solitary confinement at Rikers Island jail. Presenting this information to the New York […]

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NEWS: Abuses at Rikers Island: Officials and Advocates Call for End to Solitary Confinement and Officer Violence

By Annie Wu. Excerpted from The Epoch Times. For Johnny Perez, the horrors of being placed in solitary confinement still remain fresh in his memory. More than 15 years ago, when Perez was a young teen, he was placed in solitary confinement for 60 days at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island. “It’s […]

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NEWS: Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail

By Michael Winerip and Michael Schwirtz. Excerpted from the New York Times. After being arrested on a misdemeanor charge following a family dispute last year, Jose Bautista was unable to post $250 bail and ended up in a jail cell on Rikers Island. A few days later, he tore his underwear, looped it around his […]

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NEWS: Roundup of National News on Solitary Confinement, June 2014

June 23, 2014 A judge denied bail to a friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect who is being held in solitary confinement in a Plymouth county jail while he awaits trial on charges of impeding the investigation into the deadly attack.  He is not charged with participating in the bombings or knowing about them […]

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NEWS: New York City Council Hearing Probes Jail Violence, Mental Health Care

By Jake Pearson, Associated Press. Reprinted from ABC News. New York City lawmakers peppered correction and health officials with questions about how to reduce violence and better care for a growing mentally ill inmate population in the nation’s second-largest jail system during a specially called oversight hearing Thursday. In three hours of testimony, the commissioners […]

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NEWS: Death of Schizophrenic Rikers Inmate Left in Cell Ruled a Homicide

By the Associated Press. Reprinted from SILive.com. NEW YORK — The death of a seriously mentally ill and diabetic inmate who sexually mutilated himself after seven days in a New York City jail cell has been ruled a homicide, the city medical examiner’s office said Monday. Spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said the cause of 39-year-old Bradley Ballard’s September […]

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NEWS: Roundup of National News on Solitary Confinement, May 2014

May 28, 2014 Attorneys for a man who admitted helping to kill a correctional officer at U.S. Penitentiary Atwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley are trying to keep him out of the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colo. because he has serious mental health problems, including bipolar disorder and an intellectual disability.  The Justice Dept. […]

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NEWS: Hundreds Lobby Against Solitary Confinement

By Keri Blakinger. Reprinted from examiner.com. On Monday, hundreds of activists gathered outside the Capitol in Albany to lobby in favor of a bill that would make major changes to the way that solitary confinement is used in New York’s prisons and jails. The bill, called the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act seeks to address the underlying behavioral […]

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NEWS: Lawmakers, Advocates, and Survivors of Solitary Confinement Introduce Sweeping Reforms to Use of Isolation in New York’s Prisons and Jails

Press Release from the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement Albany, May 5, 2014 — At a mid-morning press conference in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, leading legislators joined advocates, people who had experienced solitary confinement, and family members of those currently in solitary to promote the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (A08588A […]

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