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Queens Conversations: The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act

Queens Conversations

The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act (HALT). Many of us may have experienced the loneliness and isolation created by the recent COVID-19 restrictions on our lives. Try to imagine what it would be like to exist totally by yourself for days, sometimes weeks, even months or years, in a tiny jail cell not much bigger than a bed - without any human interaction. That is what prisoners in solitary confinement must endure. The United Nations officially considers it a form of torture, yet this punishment is consistently applied throughout the American prison system. This week on Queens Conversations, we will talk with NY Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas from District 34. She is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill S-1623 the HALT Act, which stands for Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement. We also had a chance to speak with Natasha White, HALT Community Organizer and directly impacted survivor of solitary. On April, 01, 2021 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S2836/A2277A) into law, reforming the practice of segregated confinement in New York State correctional facilities. This legislation limits the amount of time an incarcerated person can spend in segregated confinement to 15 days, clearly defines and reduces the number of disciplinary infractions eligible for segregated confinement, and exempts certain vulnerable populations, including the young, elderly, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and individuals with a serious mental illness.

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