In a pivotal move, the New York prison system has elected to do alter its solitary confinement practices.
Gothamist reports that, per the NYCLU, the state will stop solitary confinement for prisoners who are pregnant, as well as those who experience mental and developmental challenges and age under the age of 18ary ta. Furthermore, the overall use of isolation as measure will be examined in hope scaling back on it in the future.
This decision makes New York the largest prison system in the U.S. to ban solitary confinement of minors.
This comes after LeRoy Peoples and Dewayne Richardson served 780 straight days in solitary confinement each; Gothamist notes that the average time spent in solitary is 150 days, which is still at least five times longer than what experts have identified as tolerable.
A lawsuit was filed by the NYCLU, attorneys Morrison & Foerster, and Cardozo School of Law professor Alexander Reinert on the behalf of Peoples and Richardson. According to the NYCLU, the suit was suspended because the state proved that they took the matter seriously.
"We agreed to suspend our lawsuit because the State demonstrated in the course of these negotiations a real commitment to reform," senior staff attorney Taylor Pendergrass explained.
The agreement was signed by Judge Shira A. Schiendlin, who issued the controversial stop-and-frisk ruling last summer.