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NYSCOPBA calls on state to pause HALT solitary confinement law

The New York State Corrections Officer and Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) has called on the state to pause the ‘HALT’ Act set to go into effect this Friday, April 1.

The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act (HALT) was signed into law by former Governor Andrew Cuomo in April 2021. HALT limits the use of segregated confinement for incarcerated persons to 15 days.

“HALT, which hinders the ability to separate vicious predators from the general prison population for more than fifteen days, if at all, will only exacerbate the issue,” said NYSCOPBA President Michael Powers in a statement, according to WETM. “The reality is, in order to achieve a better rehabilitation model, you must first address the violence. It simply cannot be ignored or else you will continue to see chaos and an unhealthy environment for everyone who resides inside a prison facility.”

Powers stated there were a record number of inmate attacks against corrections staff last year, with 1,173 attacks total in 2021, according to Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) figures.

Thee NYSCOPBA has filed a lawsuit against the state to repeal the HALT Act, arguing it violates its members’ civil rights. The lawsuit is pending. Additionally, the union has proposed legislation to conduct a violence study in NYS prisons to determine the cause of uptick in violence.