Criminal Justice

NY Prisons Confine Drug Users to "Human Kennels"

It's punishment on top of punishment

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Among some other pretty horrific findings, a new report from the New York Civil Liberties Union reveals that inmates caught using drugs in New York's prison system are punished with months, and sometimes years, in "extreme isolation" in "special housing units."

What exactly constitutes extreme isolation?

Inmates spend 23 hours a day "in a room the size of a typical elevator," according to the NYCLU report. They use the bathroom in that cell, and they shower in it. Sometimes, they are forced to share the space with another inmate. They are allowed to write and read, and that's about it. If they are well-behaved, they get to spend one hour out of every 24 in a "fenced-in recreation pen" that's smaller than their cells, and which "prisoners and staff alike call a human kennel." Inside that pen, prisoners "can glimpse the sky through heavy metal grates and hear the din of other isolated inmates."