The Sylvia Rivera Law Project is proud to be an endorsing organization behind the HALT Solitary Confinement Act. As part of the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC), SRLP seeks to end the practice of placing individuals in known torturous conditions within our state prisons. Isolated confinement is an unsafe and inhumane practice that causes horrendous deterioration of people on a psychological, physical, and social scale.
SRLP is proud to join our members on the inside and many other organizations to name this practice for what it is: torture that is steeped in racism, sexism, and ableism. Trans people, people of color, and people with disabilities make up the majority of people held in solitary confinement – this is because this torturous practice is focused on punishing identity and survival and serves no other purpose.
We know this fact not only from the numbers, but from the stories our members tell us and the experiences we have had advocating for our loved ones. Here are some of the numbers we know to be true:
- While Black people represent about 13% of all people in New York State, they represent 50% of those incarcerated here, and 60% of people held in long-term solitary confinement units. Check out NYCLU’s Report Boxed In to learn more.
- Despite laws attempting to keep people with mental health diagnoses out of solitary, more than 20% of the people in solitary are on the caseload for the Office of Mental Health. Even though only 9% of the overall prison population is in solitary confinement, 40% of all suicide attempts occurred while in solitary in 2014 and 2015. Check out NYCLU’s Report Boxed In to learn more.
- Trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGNCI) people are often placed in solitary purportedly for their own protection, but the isolation only makes TGNCI people more vulnerable to staff abuse. Read more about the experiences of trans women in the NYS prison system in this expose from Solitary Watch, and from this personal essay written by one of SRLP’s PAC members, Dee Dee Webber.
In our work at SRLP, we often see people placed in solitary confinement because they “disobeyed a direct order.” In reviewing their case file, we often find that this means a TGNCI client asked a guard to use the right pronoun for them or asked them to stop using racist and homophobic slurs when speaking to them. This action – standing up for your dignity and humanity – can lead you to solitary. This is why we are proud to join many other New Yorkers on May 2, 2017 in Albany advocating for an end to isolated confinement.
If you want to join us, please email CAIC to register a spot! Also drop Mik Kinkead, SRLP’s Director of the Prisoner Justice Project, a note to let him know you are going so that we can make sure to have a strong SRLP coalition! Contact Mik at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 212-337-8550 x302.
Registration information from CAIC:
RSVP for MAY 2 CAIC ADVOCACY DAY TO HALT SOLITARY: This year’s CAIC advocacy day in Albany to push for the HALT Solitary Confinement Act will take place on Tues., May 2. There will be buses from NYC and support for transport from elsewhere across the state. Reserve your spot today by emailing email@example.com with your name, email, cell phone, mailing address, NYS Senator and Assemblymember (if you know them), and if you will take a bus from NYC or need other transportation support from another part of the state.Register with CAIC
News from the Prisoner Justice Project!
- Building Together Towards Liberation: Tools & Resources for Resistance (5/15/2017)
- A New Resource for Incarcerated Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex New Yorkers (5/4/2017)
- SRLP Seeks to HALT Isolated Confinement in New York State Prisons (4/30/2017)
- What You Can Do To Bring TGNCI Prisoners Home (2/12/2017)
- 15 Systematic Policies and Legal Rules That SRLP Helped Change (12/20/2016)
- New PREA Rules for the NYC Jails Fail to Provide Trans Women with Meaningful Housing (11/21/2016)
- Voices Raised Against All Forms of Violence in the NYC Jails! (11/13/2016)
- Speak up against sexual violence at the Board of Corrections hearing (7/21/2016)
- Leaving Trans Women out of the Women and Criminal Justice System Convening (4/9/2016)
- SRLP Members Help HALT Solitary in NYS Prisons (4/8/2016)