New York City ends solitary confinement for prisoners under 21


Rikers Island is seen in this aerial photograph taken in New York on October 31, 2012. The New York City Department of Correction has routinely violated the constitutional rights of male teenagers at the Rikers Island jail complex through a “culture of violence” that relies on beatings, the federal government said in a report released on August 4, 2014. The U.S. Justice Department said the multiyear probe had found a pattern of “conduct and practice” pervading the sprawling Rikers detention facility that violates the rights of young inmates. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

New York City will prohibit solitary confinement for inmates under the age of 21, shifting away from its previous policy, the New York Times reported.

In a unanimous decision, the New York City Board of Corrections voted Tuesday to implement the reform in January 2016 once positions for additional officers and medical staff have been created.

The decision comes almost a month after reports of increased self harm among teenage inmates and excessive use of force against adolescents held in solitary confinement at Rikers Island, New York City’s largest jail, led federal prosecutors to take legal action against the city over civil rights violations.

The same week of the lawsuit, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York had put an end to the solitary confinement of juvenile inmates.

Last year, the use of solitary confinement gained more attention from legislators than it has in nearly two decades. In 2014 alone, 10 states passed reforms to limit the use of solitary confinement and improve the conditions of punitive segregation units.

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