Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York’s Prisons

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has released a report, entitled “Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York’s Prisons” which exposes not only some of the horrors of solitary confinement, but how arbitrarily this punishment is used in prisons in New York State.

The NYCLU also comes up two recommendations on how to deal with this issue which, in typical reformist liberal fashion, fall far short of what is required. The NYCLU says:

New York must end its use of extreme isolation by:

  1. adopting stringent criteria, protocols and safeguards for separating violent or vulnerable prisoners, to ensure that prisoners are separated only in limited and legitimate circumstances for the briefest period and under the least restrictive conditions practicable; and
  2. auditing the current population in extreme isolation to identify people who should not be in the SHU, transitioning them back to the general prison population and reducing the number of SHU beds accordingly.

Solitary confinement is torture, plain and simple, and has no place in a free world. All such units should be closed immediately.