New York Subjects Thousands of Prisoners to Solitary Confinement

The state's go-to disciplinary tool


On any given day in New York State, approximately 4,500 people are confined for 22 to 24 hours a day in solitary confinement or other forms of extreme isolation in New York's prison. Despite international and regional human rights standards proscribing solitary confinement, New York uses extreme isolation as a disciplinary tool of first resort.

Once in confinement, prisoners are deprived of all meaningful social interaction, mental stimulation, and programming. As Boxed In: the True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York's Prisons by the New York Civil Liberties Union explains, the physical and psychological health of prisoners suffers severely due to isolated confinement. And there still are not sufficient safeguards preventing vulnerable people from being sent to solitary.