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 is – ‘an affront to our shared humanity.’ The President’s words should signal to governors, mayors, corrections officials and legislators throughout the country that it’s time to adhere to the Mandela Rules recently adopted by the United Nations and bring an end to the torture of solitary confinement in the United States.

The Executive Orders issued by the President limiting solitary confinement in Federal Prisons is a first step. Ending solitary confinement for young people and expanding treatment for people suffering from mental illness are important, but do not go nearly far enough. Solitary confinement is torture for all people and should be abolished. It is a known harmful and failed approach to discipline that resurged in this era of Mass Incarceration. It has failed to achieve its purported goals of making jails and prisons safe and instead, as the President noted, it makes us all less safe.

In New York, Legislators have the opportunity to end solitary confinement and replace it with humane and effective alternatives in response to violence and disorder in its prisons. The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S2659/A4401) is an opportunity for New York to lead the nation into an era of respect for the human rights of all people.

Click here to view that statement as a PDF press release.

EVENTS: New York Advocates Participate in Premiere of HERMAN’S HOUSE

hhThe injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art are explored in HERMAN’S HOUSE, a feature documentary that follows the unlikely friendship between a New York artist and one of America’s most famous inmates as they collaborate on an acclaimed art  project.

HERMAN’S HOUSE makes its New York premiere this weekend. (Buy tickets here.) CAIC members will be there to speak and answer questions, along with the film’s director, after the following screenings:

Friday, April 19, 7:00 PM (SOLD OUT!)
Moderator: Anna Sale, WNYC Reporter
Speaker: Taylor Pendergrass, Senior Staff Attorney, New York Civil Liberties Union
Speaker: Jackie Summell, Artist, Activist Featured in Film
Speaker: Angad Bhalla, Director of Herman’s House

Friday, April 19, 9:15 PM
Speaker: Five, Mualimm-AK, NYC Jails Action Coalition
Speaker: Angad Bhalla, Director of Herman’s House

Saturday, April 20, 7:00 PM
Moderator: King Downing, Campaign to End the New Jim Crow
Speaker: Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Correctional Association
Speaker: Angad Bhalla, Director of Herman’s House

Saturday, April 20, 9:15 PM
Speaker: Jean Casella, Editor,
Speaker: Angad Bhalla, Director of Herman’s House

Sunday, April 21, 3:00 PM
Speaker: Angad Bhalla, Director of Herman’s House
Speaker: Representatives from Metro NY Religious Campaign Against Torture

[Read more…]

EVENTS: Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement to Meet on March 7 in NYC

solitary cellThe newly formed Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement will meet on Thursday, March 7, 6:30-8:00 pm, in the library at the New York Civil Liberties Union, 125 Broad St, New York, NY. To RSVP (required for building security) or obtain call-in information, contact Nate Vogel at

This key organizing meeting is open to all who wish to get involved in the work of CAIC. Formerly incarcerated persons and family members of the currently incarcerated are especially encouraged to attend, as are advocates, concerned community members, lawyers, and individuals in the human rights, health, and faith communities throughout New York City and New York State.


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