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. Currently, we are working toward passage of the Humane Alternative to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act in the New York State Legislature.

Isolated confinement involves confining people for 22 to 24 hours a day, without meaningful human contact, programming, or therapy, in cells smaller than the average parking space. This practice is ineffective, unsafe, and inhumane. It causes people detained in these conditions to deteriorate psychologically, physically, and also harms their families and communities.

Despite these facts, New York utilizes isolated confinement at rates well above the national average, with some 4,000 people in isolation in state prisons, and hundreds more in local jails. Although the UN has said that solitary confinement beyond 14 days can amount to torture, many individuals in New York remain in isolation for months, years, or even decades.

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.






On November 1, Governor Cuomo announced proposed new rules purportedly designed to limit the use of solitary in local jails. In fact, these proposed rules are seriously flawed, will codify some of the worst practices in local jails, and will leave thousands of our fellow New Yorkers in solitary for months, years, and decades. The rules were drafted without consulting people who have survived solitary or other experts.


Whenever rules like these are changed, there is a 45-day public comment period, during which anyone can submit a statement. We are calling on individuals and organizations to submit comments on the proposed rules, demanding that New York State do better.


Demand that new rules provide real limits on the use of solitary confinement. Recommend implementation of the provisions of the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, A.3080/ S.4784. Click here for a summary of key points that you may include as part of your submission. Please make your submission as personal and powerful as you can.


Comments must be received by 5 pm on Monday, December 18, 2017. Please mail them a few days in advance to: Deborah Slack-Bean, Senior Attorney, New York State Commission of Correction, Alfred E. Smith Building, 80 S. Swan Street, 12th Floor, Albany, NY 12210. Or please email by 5 pm Monday to: Please also email a copy of your comments to so we can compile and display publicly all of the comments demanding that New York #HALTsolitary. (Go to the Testimony page to view our growing archive of comments!)



At this special time of year, please remember the thousands of people who are spending the holiday season alone in solitary confinement. Many CAIC members participate in Solitary Watch's "Lifelines to Solitary" program, which provides pen pals to people living in isolation. For information on how to get involved, visit


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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 […]

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