NYC Correction Officers Union Head Takes Dim View Of New Solitary Policy


The head of the powerful New York City Correction Officers Benevolent Association took a dim view of the city’s plan to eliminate solitary confinement for inmates under 21 as of next January. President Norman Seabrook told NPR, “It’s imperative that people understand that you can’t have a 16-, 17-, 18-year-old that commits murder in the streets of New York City come to jail, and you expect us to treat them like a 6- or 7-year-old and give them a time out. I’m not suggesting there be any brute force involved.”

Seabrook added: “What I’m suggesting is that when an inmate commits a crime by slashing another inmate, by raping another inmate, by breaking the jaw or the arm, or punching out the eye socket of a New York City correction officer that he or she be charged with a crime and be given punishment for that crime.” Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union says the concerns are unfounded. “There is no basis for the claim that these reforms put officers at greater risk,” she says. “It doesn’t make guards any safer to beat the living daylights out of somebody, putting somebody in conditions in which they die. That doesn’t make anybody safer. It doesn’t make anybody safer to leave mental illness untreated.”

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