New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced an agreement that will bring changes to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s use of special housing units in New York state.
Since May 2013, the governor’s office and DOCCS have been negotiating with the New York Civil Liberties Union to settle impact litigation filed in Federal District Court, Southern District of New York, and reform the state’s current discipline practices and policies.
In February 2014, the state and the NYCLU entered into an interim agreement to advance a variety of policy initiatives, including creating and implementing sanction guidelines, ending the practice of imposing solitary confinement on juveniles, instituting a presumption against solitary confinement for pregnant inmates and providing an alternative placement for inmates with cognitive impairments.
After more than 20 additional months of negotiation, the parties are now ready to enter into a final settlement to reform DOCCS’ disciplinary system.
“This package of reforms will result in a safer correctional system, as well as a fairer and more humane response for inmates who engage in misconduct,” said Cuomo. “This groundbreaking agreement with the NYCLU should serve as a model for other states across the nation to follow in reforming the use of solitary confinement. From working to raise the age, to breaking down re-entry barriers for the formerly incarcerated, to today’s agreement, I am proud that we are continuing to create a safer and smarter correctional environment in New York state.”
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