Success: New York to Overhaul Solitary Confinement in State Prisons

Target:  New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Goal: Applaud the reforms of solitary confinement in New York state prisons.

The use of solitary confinement will be reformed in New York state prisons thanks in part to petitions like ForceChange’s Demand That New York Stop Using Solitary Confinement in Prisons. The state’s prison system is one of the largest in the country.

Under the new agreement to reform the prisons, more than 1,100 inmates currently in solitary housing units (SHU) will be moved into alternative units. This will reduce the solitary confinement population by 25 percent over the next three years.

The overhaul includes that 23 minor and non-violent infractions will no longer be punished with solitary confinement, and the maximum solitary confinement sentence would be three months for all crimes with the exception of violent and other serious infractions. Additionally, first time violations will get a maximum of 30 days in solitary.

This agreement comes after years of controversy over New York’s seemingly excessive use of solitary confinement, which activists often dubbed as inhumane and cruel punishment. Applaud these reforms that will help to improve the treatment of prisoners, who despite their incarceration are still human beings and deserve to be treated as such.


Dear Governor Cuomo,

You recently announced a historic agreement that will overhaul the use of solitary confinement in New York state prisons. These reforms are vital, as the use of solitary confinement by your state’s prisons has seemed excessive and unfair, especially for inmates who haven’t committed serious crimes.

Despite the fact that people in prisons have been locked up for breaking the law, these people still deserve to be treated as just that–people. Prison reform has been a hot topic in recent years and I hope that reforms like this continue to be implemented in the future so we can have a more just and humane way of dealing with those who are incarcerated.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Christian Senger

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