Challenge to New York’s Solitary Confinement Law Fails
A challenge by the New York State Correction Officer's Union to the Humane Alternatives to Long Term Solitary Confinement, or HALT Act, has failed in Federal Court, per a report by Kate Lisa of Spectrum News 1.
The HALT Act limits the amount of time that New York prison or jail inmates can spend in solitary confinement to 15 days or 20 days over two months. The Correction Officer's Union filed a challenge to the law last year, citing fears that limiting the amount of time inmates could spend in solitary confinement would lead to an increase in attacks on officers and other inmates. The court ruled that a "potential risk" is not enough to overturn the law.
Per the report, New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association President Michael Powers said "We filed the lawsuit last year before HALT took effect because of our grave concern that increased leniency in prisons would lead to more violence against staff and other inmates. That fear has become reality for us. Unfortunately, the court did not agree with our arguments."
On the other side, Victor Pate, a formerly incarcerated man and the #HALTsolitary campaign co-director, stated that "A lot of times, people are disciplined who have mental health issues and DOCCS' answer to that is segregation, separation and isolation, which in fact, the only thing that does is it exacerbates the circumstances and makes people more violet and it causes people to act out even more."
The HALT Act went into effect on April 1, 2022. At this time, the Correction Officer's Union has not filed another appeal, but Powers claims they will not give up on repealing the HALT Act.