Women are the fastest-growing population in U.S. jails, but the “damage” this has wreaked on families has been largely ignored, a conference launching a seven-year initiative aimed at reducing female incarceration in New York City was told Oct. 17.
On Oct 1, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group began a month-long “mass bailout” project in New York aimed at highlighting the inequalities of a system that forces the poor to remain behind bars before trial simply because they cannot afford money bail. Local DAs fumed, but a former NYC probation commissioner explains why he decided to participate.
The city Correction Department has completed the move of 16- and 17-year-olds off Rikers Island to juvenile facilities in what Mayor Bill de Blasio called “an historic day for criminal justice reform.” The long-awaited move comes as a new “Raise the Age” state law approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature that treats 16-year-olds accused of crimes as juveniles instead of adults took effect Monday.
Eliminating the use of solitary is essential to transforming the modern culture of corrections, speakers at John Jay College said Wednesday. The college’s week-long examination of solitary confinement continues Thursday with a conference of leading researchers, legislators and advocates.
Leaders of the campaign to close New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail are celebrating the announcement that one of the facility’s nine detention centers will be closed this year. But they said that fundamental justice change requires reform of the money bail system.
The abusive treatment of detainees in the country’s second-largest jail complex has long been the target of civil liberties complaints. But a new report claims that visitors are subject to similar abuse.
Efforts to close facilities like the Rikers Island jail complex in New York won’t work unless authorities find alternative ways to deal with seriously mentally ill individuals who run afoul of the justice system, says New York’s former chief judge.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, “The situation is intolerable.” Inmates argue that shutting down the 10-jail complex is the only solution for violence by guards and gang members, mistreatment of the mentally ill and juveniles, and unjustly long detention for minor offenders.
Criminal justice reform has not helped women to the same extent that it has benefited men, says a study from the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College. Drawing from women’s experience at Rikers Island, the report argues that reform should be trauma-informed and gender-responsive to account for women’s unique needs.
New York City will no longer send youths 21 and under to solitary confinement. A former prison health care provider says it’s time to apply such an approach nationwide–and for professional associations of social workers and psychologists to put their clout behind efforts to toss this “inhumane” practice into the dustbins of history.