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.
Hundreds 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.

UPCOMING EVENT: SPEAK-OUT FOLLOWED BY BOOK READING / DISCUSSION

JOIN US on the 23rd of each month as we rally to end the torture of solitary confinement in New York. Please check the Events page for details.

THE CAIC BLOG: NEWS AND VIEWS ON SOLITARY IN NEW YORK

EVENTS: What People Locked Up For 23 Hours A Day Yearn To See

By Victoria Law. Excerpted from Gothamist.  No one knows exactly how many people are held in solitary confinement throughout New York State. There’s the SHU, or Special Housing Unit, a special unit dedicated to locking people away from other. Then there’s keeplock, where people are confined to the cells in their housing units. There’s also protective custody, […]

NEWS: Fixing Solitary Confinement in New York State Prisons

By Katherine Todrys, Human Rights Watch New York Committee. Reprinted from the Huffington Post. Victor Pate spent almost two years in solitary confinement in New York prisons, off and on. Once, he said, he was isolated for 90 days for having too many bed sheets in his room. Only two sheets were allowed per prisoner, but […]

NEWS: The Voices Drove Him to Prison. The Prison Drove Him to Suicide.

By JB Nicholas. Excerpted from The Daily Beast. Benjamin Van Zandt’s hellish odyssey through New York’s criminal justice system began when the voices inside his head compelled him to light a neighbor’s house on fire. While the occupants of the house were away, and no one was hurt, the 17-year-old schizophrenic and psychotic depressive was prosecuted […]

NEWS: Advocates Rally in Harlem to Call on Cuomo to End Solitary Confinement

By Dartunorro Clark. Reprinted from dnainfo.com. HARLEM — Victor Pate gave up and started talking to himself. Pate, 64, did a three-month stint in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day during the late 1980s when he was imprisoned in Sing Sing. Pate, a Harlem resident, said the loss of human contact during that time drove […]

NEWS: Widespread Brutality and Solitary Confinement Followed New York Prison Escape, Report Finds

By Julia Hettiger. Reprinted from Solitary Watch. One year after the high-profile escape of two men from Clinton Correctional Facility, the Correctional Association of New York, the state’s oldest prison reform organization, has released a scathing new report on the brutality that followed the escape. Voices from Clinton documents cruelty often rising to the level of […]

NEWS: New Yorkers Fight For Solitary Confinement Reforms: “It’s Like Being In A Coffin”

By Jack Denton. Excerpted from Gothamist. APRIL 13 — Yesterday morning in Albany’s Legislative Office Building, Alecia Barraza’s voice cracked as she described her 21-year-old son’s mental decline and eventual suicide during his isolation in solitary confinement at Fishkill Correctional Facility in Dutchess County. “We live with this tragedy every day,” Barraza said of the death […]

NEWS: NY CAIC Responds to Obama’s Announcement of Limits on Federal Solitary Confinement

On January 27, the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement issued the following statement on President Obama’s executive actions to restrict solitary confinement. President Obama has joined the growing chorus of community leaders, incarcerated individuals and their families, medical professionals, scientists, legal scholars, advocates for human rights, and everyday people in calling solitary confinement what it […]

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