Statement of The Legal Aid Society on the Announcement that Punitive Segregation at Rikers Has Ended for Inmates 21 and Under

At long last the Department of Correction has ended the harmful use of 23-hour isolated confinement on young prisoners, 21 years and younger. We hope that meaningful implementation of effective programs in the alternative units is the end to the overly punitive response to young adults in City custody.

Educational, programmatic and therapeutic responses should result in safer and more effective City jails, shorter terms of incarceration, reduced recidivism, and improved reentry outcomes. However, we remain concerned that other restrictive housing units such as those at West Facility and the Enhanced Supervision Housing Units (ESH) will undo some of the progress made today if they continue to impose onerous and demonstrably harmful conditions on the young inmates held there.