“Solitary confinement, by any name, has been proven to cause physical, psychological, and emotional harm, and its use has contributed to continued violence and deaths on Rikers Island. The Council passed Intro. 549-A to ban solitary confinement with more than a veto-proof majority because it is imperative to make the city’s jails safer for those who are detained and staff alike. We cannot allow the human rights and safety crisis on Rikers to continue by maintaining the status quo of failed policies and practices. This legislation has broad support and advances a new approach to reduce violence and prioritize safety. It has been crafted with the input of stakeholders, including corrections experts, impacted families, and the labor unions that represent many workers in the city’s jails.
“The lengthy public process related to this legislation was deliberate and offered considerable opportunities for feedback, and we specifically sought the federal monitor’s feedback in advance, but our outreach was completely ignored. At this point, the separate legislative branch’s process must be respected from a good government perspective. The Council stands by its passage of this legislation and will take the steps to enact this law over the Mayor’s veto to address the catastrophic conditions that are taking the lives of people in our city’s custody. We urge the Mayor’s administration to begin addressing the Council as a co-equal branch of government by coming to legislative negotiations with the competence and good faith that has too often been lacking to best serve our city.”