As N.Y.C. Jails Become More Violent, Solitary Confinement Persists
October 13, 2020
In this morning's NY Times, there is a news article about Rikers Island, the New York City Jail. The city has done a remarkable job of reducing dramatically the number of incarcerated men and women at Rikers. This chart shows the reduction in numbers at Rikers Island:
|Year||Total Incarcerated||In Solitary|
It is to the credit of the leaders of Rikers Island that they were able to dramatically reduce the number of people incarcerated and to limit the number of people in solitary to 5 to 7% of the jail population.
The real question is whether Rikers has the wherewithal to provide the services needed to people who act out violently. According to the experience of those systems such as in Colorado, solitary can be severely limited and hardly used if the appropriate psychological, medical, and educational services are made available to prison or jail staff. Consider the savings to Rikers' budget with such low numbers of incarcerated people! Those savings should be then put into services.