'They don’t deserve to be locked in a cell all day.' - Protest calls for end to solitary confinement in NYC jails
Advocates rallied in lower Manhattan today to call for an end to solitary confinement in all New York City jails.
The rally took place before this month’s Board of Correction meeting, calling for the City Council to pass Intro 549 to end solitary confinement.
Advocates attribute the deaths of 32 incarcerated people since 2021 to the lack of basic necessities and the use of solitary confinement.
“They are coming in with so much trauma… they deserve better,” said Michelle Feldman, representative from the Women’s Community Justice Association. “They don’t deserve to be locked in a cell all day.”
Department of Correction Commissioner Louis Molina recently submitted a variance to decrease the current minimum of out of cell hours on Rikers, citing recent violence.
While it was withdrawn before it was considered by the Board of Correction, advocates fear that basic health and safety standards aren’t being upheld in the facilities.
“To change 14 hours into seven hours for an individual without cause, without harm, is inhumane,” said Minister Dr. Victoria Phillips of the Urban Justice Center. “There is no correction in corrections.”
Many alongside Phillips said they are upset that the DOC did not show up for today’s public oversight meeting.
The Department of Corrections provided News 12 with the following statement:
“The safety and wellbeing of our staff and people in custody is our highest priority. Due to multiple incidents at the George R. Vierno Center (GRVC), many involving gang affiliated detainees, the agency is moving forward with a violence reduction plan to quell acts of violence in the facility.”