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.