Changes in Use of Solitary Confinement at Rikers
- New York 01/15/2015 by Linda Perry (WBAI)

Long sought after changes are about to take place in the second largest prison in the country, Rikers Island Prison located in the East River in New York City. 

Inmates aged 21 years old and younger will no longer be subject to solitary confinement.  And no inmate will be held in solitary for more than 30 consecutive days, down from 90 days. 

Taylor Pendergrass is senior staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberites Union which has been pushing for reform. He said, "Both of those changes recognize overwhelming evidence that solitary confinement is extremely harmful."  

Inmates at Rikers subjected to solitary confinement are locked in their cells twenty-three hours a day, with one hour of recreation, often at 4am.  And the majority of the inmates at Rikers are young people of color awaiting trial, presumed innocent. 

"That’s a really important point to make” says Danny Dromm. The Queens New York City Council member has been instrumental in the push for reform at Rikers.  

"Most of the people on Rikers Island are people who cannot afford bail and often times that bail is as low as $250.00 dollars and they have not been convicted of a crime as of yet."

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