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: 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. […]

Photo: Stacy Burnett

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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NEWS: Activists Come to Albany to Reform Solitary Confinement

By Paul Grondahl. Reprinted from the Albany Times-Union. Albany, May 4: More than 100 prisoner advocates will lobby legislators Monday to end long-term solitary confinement in the state. The daylong effort will include family members of inmates kept for months and years in solitary, which advocates consider cruel and unusual punishment. Studies have found the practice of […]

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

April 28, 2014 Colorado has passed legislation that bans Long-Term Solitary Confinement of incarcerated individuals with serious mental illness.  Individuals with “serious” or “major” mental illnesses will be moved into environments that, while still restricted, provide access to therapeutic treatment.  However, many advocates for the discontinuation of solitary confinement say the bill doesn’t go far […]

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NEWS: New York City’s New Corrections Chief, Known for Solitary Confinement Reforms, Faces Steep Challenges on Rikers Island

By Aviva Stahl. Reprinted from Solitary Watch. In March, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed reformer Joseph Ponte as the Commissioner of the Department of Correction. In his last post, overseeing Maine’s Department of Corrections, Ponte gained particular renown for reducing the use of solitary confinement by over 60 percent. In fact, the […]

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Voices: Double Celling

By Five Mualimm-ak and Shaquille Mualimm-ak. The following piece was jointly written by Five and Shaquille Mualimm-ak, who are father and son. Five Mualimm-ak is now a prison reform activist and director of the Incarcerated Nation Campaign. While incarcerated in New York State prisons, he spent five years in solitary confinement for nonviolent disciplinary infractions, and has written […]

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

Compiled by Fran Geteles-Shapiro. March 27 A man who suffers from extreme physical disabilities, and lives with constant pain, is suing the state in federal court, asserting that he has suffered medical neglect and physical abuse while held in New York’s prison system.  His attorney says that, once he began complaining about the lack of […]

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NEWS: Treating Humans Worse Than Animals: Solitary Confinement in New York Featured on “Democracy Now!”

Reprinted from Democracy Now! Following the death of two prisoners at New York City’s Rikers Island facility, we look at mounting pressure on jails and prisons to reform their use of solitary confinement. A corrections officer was arrested last week and charged with violating the civil rights of Jason Echevarria, a mentally ill Rikers prisoner […]

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