The New York City jail system no longer holds inmates ages 21 and under in solitary confinement, the Wall Street Journal reports. Solitary confinement, also known as punitive segregation, is used as punishment for violent or difficult inmates and typically involves isolating people in small cells 23 hours a day. The department ended the practice for 16- and 17-year-olds in 2014 and for 18-years-olds this past June.
City officials said the elimination of solitary confinement for young adults placed the department “at the forefront of correctional reform across the nation.” The correction officers’ union argues that the practice is necessary to keep its members safe. Union president Elias Husamudeen said ending punitive segregation for young adults meant “open season on correction officers and an invitation for inmates to increase their terrorist attacks on correction officers, civilians, and other inmates.”