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.



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 […]


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 […]


Severely Disabled Man Sues New York State Prisons for Neglect, Abuse

By James Ridgeway. Reprinted from Solitary Watch. At a time when New York State is winning praise for removing vulnerable people from solitary confinement in its prisons, the case of Mark Gizewski offers a sobering counterpoint. Although he suffers from extreme physical disabilities and lives with constant pain, Gizewski has been in and out of solitary confinement […]

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EVENTS: NY CAIC Organizes Lobby Day for HALT Solitary Confinement Act: May 5 in Albany


NEWS: Roundup of National News on Solitary Confinement, January/February 2014

Compiled by Fran Geteles-Shapiro. February 26 Former Guantánamo detainees, with the support of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), have urged a French judge to subpoena Geoffrey D. Miller, a former Guantánamo Commander to explain his role in the torture and other serious mistreatment of former […]


NEWS: For Teens at Rikers Island, Solitary Confinement Pushes Mental Limits

By Trey Bundy and Daffodil Altan. From the Center for Investigative Reporting. NEW YORK – There’s not much inside “the box.” Cinder block walls rise up and close in. There’s a bunk, a sink, a toilet and a metal door with a small mesh window. Food comes through a slot. Sometimes, mice and roaches scamper […]


VOICES: Doing “Bing Time”: Memories of a Mental Health Worker in Rikers Island’s Solitary Confinement Unit

Reprinted from Solitary Watch. The following post is a chapter from an unpublished book by Mary Buser, who worked in various capacities in the mental health system on Rikers Island. In Buser’s own words: “I worked in the Rikers Mental Health Department as a psychiatric social worker for five and a half years, leaving Rikers in 2000. I started off […]

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NEWS: Lawsuit Secures New Limits on Solitary Confinement in New York’s Prisons

By Jean Casella. Reprinted from Solitary Watch. Under pressure from a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three people held in long-term solitary confinement, New York has agreed to a set of changes to its use of solitary and other forms of extreme isolation in state prisons. The agreement, announced on Wednesday, would bar certain vulnerable […]

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NEWS: New York Lawmakers Introduce Bill to End Long-Term Solitary Confinement

By Jean Casella. Reprinted from Solitary Watch. “I’m here in a steel coffin,” Jessica Casanova’s nephew wrote to her from an isolation cell. ”I’m breathing, but I’m dead.” Her nephew, she said, ”has never been the same” after spending time in solitary confinement, and his experience compelled her to speak out for the thousands held in extreme isolation in New York’s prison and […]


NEWS: New York Lawmakers Introduce Sweeping Reforms to Use of Solitary Confinement in Prisons and Jails

Press release from the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement. January 31, 10:30 am New York — At a mid-morning press conference at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, New York legislators will join advocates, survivors of solitary confinement, and their families to announce the introduction of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement […]

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EVENTS: Lawmakers, Advocates, and Solitary Survivors Join to Announce Legislation to Limit Solitary Confinement in New York’s Prisons and Jails

MEDIA ADVISORY: PRESS CONFERENCE  WHEN: Friday, January 31, 10:30 am WHERE: Judson Memorial Church, Meeting Room Balcony 55 Washington Square South (between Thompson and Sullivan Streets)  WHO: Assembly Member Jeffrion L. Aubry (D, 35th District, Queens), Assembly sponsor Senator Bill Perkins (D, 30th District, Harlem), Senate sponsor City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D, 25th District, […]

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NEWS: As New York City Jails Amend Their Solitary Confinement Practices, Abuses on Rikers Island Continue

By Aviva Stahl. Reprinted from Solitary Watch. In early January the Wall Street Journal reported that the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) had ceased using solitary confinement as a form of punishment for people with mental illness. The last of the Mental Health Assessment Unit for Infracted Inmates (MHAUII) units was shuttered on December 31, replaced by […]

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