June 29, 2020
“Last year, Speaker Johnson and I urged the Board of Correction to end the practice of punitive segregation. In my testimony to the Board, I asked for a number of different reforms addressing all types of restrictive housing, including strict limits on the use of punitive segregation, ending the use of restraint desks, and putting better programming in place.
Today’s task force formation is a welcome step forward for those who have long fought to end a practice that is inhumane, abusive, and condemned by the international community. At this time in our city, we must uphold our commitment to a fairer, more humane justice system. As a next step, we must hold this task force, the Board of Correction, and the Mayor accountable to acting swiftly once recommendations come in.
As Layleen Polanco’s death at Rikers Island reminded us, solitary confinement puts individuals at risk while they are out of sight. This news is long overdue.”