New York City Ends Punitive Solitary Confinement for Juveniles


During a visit to Rikers Island, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the end of punitive solitary confinement for juvenile inmates. De Blasio's statement, made earlier this week, comes four months after a troubling Department of Justice review concluded that New York City places 16- to 18-year-old inmates in isolation too often.

The ban is part of a national trend that aims to spare juveniles from the most severe forms of punishment. New York City joins seven states—Maine, Connecticut, West Virginia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Alaska—that have enacted laws to limit the use of isolation on young offenders.

But a possible loophole remains. It's unclear whether a ban on punitive solitary confinement would allow juveniles to end up in lockdown for other reasons. As this ReasonTV story from October 2013 discovered, young inmates across the United States can be held in isolation for months or years, not as a punishment, but rather "for their own protection."

"For Their Own Protection": Children in Long-Term Solitary Confinement

Runs about 13:15.

Produced, shot, narrated, and edited by Todd Krainin.

NEXT: Chris Edelson on the Authoritarian Response to Andrew Hawkins' Call for Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford

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  1. Mandy Rice-Davies dies – the Profumo scandal figure uttered the most memorable phrase of the affair, rivalling in its eloquence many utterances by professional politicians.

    Told that Lord so-and-so had denied having relations with her, Rice-Davies replied: “He would, wouldn’t he?”…..model-dies

  2. Tangential note: one of the problems I’ve had with the torture debates, whether during the Bush years, or more recently with the Senate “report”, is the assumed definition of torture is always psychical.

    I think that definition fails the public, given the psychological pressures which trained interrogators can utilize.

    I think solitary confinement for those still in development, and long term solitary confinement or arbitrary use of such on anyone can easily rise to torture.

    And while so many seem to recognize the problem with the CIA, the police I think continue to use tactics which should be defined as torture and we generally (as a society) never see it in this real terms without bruises, assault, etc.

    Point: solving some of the government’s overstepping in law enforcement starts with correctly identifying the problem and by extension the terms used to describe certain interactions. It might also help highlight that in fact seemingly normal people, without being psychically tortured, can and do still confess to crimes they never committed.

    1. “I think solitary confinement for those still in development, and long term solitary confinement or arbitrary use of such on anyone can easily rise to torture.”

      IMO, this is true of certain individuals and not others. So I’m not sure it can be generally defined as torture.

    2. Tangential to your tangential point – I like how some supporters of the executive branch think they’ve developed interrogation techniques strong enough to break the will of a hardened terrorist but which aren’t so harsh as to constitute torture.

    3. I think that definition fails the public, given the psychological pressures which trained interrogators can utilize.

      I think looking at someone funny, is torture.

      Yes, I’m being facetious, but I am making a point. Once you can claim psychological damages you completely devastate your legal system. (Although the ambulance chasers will love it.) The reason is there is no limit to what you can claim psychologically damaged you. It can range from real trauma to nonsense like “the word apple triggers me and he said apple…twice”. Attempting to define psychological trauma is a fools errand. Kids seem to have (had?) the proper line figured out:

      Sticks and stones…

      1. There’s no rigid distinction.

        1. What do you mean by “There’s no rigid distinction”?

          1. If I say, “confess or we’ll kill your family,” is that physical or psychological?”

            1. Assume the torturers won’t *really* kill the suspect’s family, it’s a trick to scare the suspect into talking.

      2. Sorry for the confusion, but I didn’t mean to imply that using certain non-physical, but very strong/psychologically interrogation techniques should be remedied by tort suits based upon emotional damages.

        I only meant that the public should take a longer look at interrogations more broadly and I think a realistic look at actual techniques in use should be remedied by disallowing their use.

  3. I just agree… Brenda `s st0rry is amazing… on wednesday I got a top of the range Citro?n DS sincee geting a check for $9519 this – five weeks past and even more than 10/k this past month . it’s actualy the nicest work Ive had . I actually started 6 months ago and right away was bringing home over $86…
    per-hr . official website ———-

  4. As libertarians, I think we need to be very careful about what we stand for wrt punishing bad guys and being “tough on crime”.

    As a libertarian I abhor laws against victimless crime. Having such laws increases the number of cops on the street. Having a bunch of bored cops, given their propensity for assholery to begin with, leads to them to look for something to do, which pits them against law (natural law) abiding citizens. I abhor politicians and unions and sometimes misguided citizens who attempt to place LEOs above the law and grant them immunity from their actions.

    Now, after all that, some might think that I side with criminals. That is not the case.

    If you are an actual criminal…someone who initiates aggression against another or another’s property, I want the police to arrest you. I want to give you a fair trial. IF you are unanimously found guilty by a legitimate court, I want you to rot in a fucking hole until your teeth fall out. And once you’ve served your time, you are a free man, with no further limitations placed upon your rights. You do it again, and I want them to throw away the key.

    I have ZERO tolerance for those who would aggress upon another. FUCK THEM!

  5. Some people want to be in isolation.

  6. Great, so now they can be introduced to the only real “rape culture” that exists in the US – prison rape.

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