State lawmakers are concerned that the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is violating the HALT Act.
The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act was intended to help prisoners have better conditions while confined.
The HALT Act went into effect on March 31. Prisons and jails are not allowed to hold people with physical or mental disabilities in solitary confinement for any amount of time.
However, Doreen was placed in solitary confinement. She was isolated for nearly 20 hours a day for 15 days. She suffers from bipolar disorder. She was also diagnosed with schizophrenia.
She’s medicated by the prison for both of those illnesses.
DOCCS data shows that hundreds of inmates with mental or physical illnesses have been sent to solitary confinement since HALT went into effect.
What’s worse is that as of September 1, nearly 40% of those in solitary confinement across the state had documented mental health care needs, according to New York Focus.
Some lawmakers say DOCCS is setting itself up for litigation. “I don’t know why DOCCS isn’t just complying with the letter of the law,” Sen. Julia Salazar told New York Focus and The Times Union. “I think it’s quite clear. I think they just don’t want to comply with it – or reckon with the fact that an enormous number of individuals in DOCCS facilities are living with a disability.”
FingerLakes1.com is the region’s leading all-digital news publication. The company was founded in 1998 and has been keeping residents informed for more than two decades. Have a lead? Send it to [email protected].