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Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York's Prisons

NCJ Number
Scarlet Kim; Taylor Pendergrass; Helen Zelon
Date Published
72 pages
This publication examines New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's use of extreme isolation.
Based on a year of study and analysis, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) found that New York's use of extreme isolation is arbitrary and unjustified; extreme isolation harms prisoners and corrections staff; and extreme isolation negatively impacts prison and community safety. This study is divided into 5 sections: Section I provides an introduction to extreme isolation, explains why the NYCLU undertook its investigation of extreme isolation in New York prisons and describes the report's methodology; Section II recounts New York's history with extreme isolation and the factors that drove and enabled its modern resurgence; Section III describes DOCCS' process for placing prisoners in extreme isolation and provides a demographic and statistical overview of who serves time in extreme isolation, for what reasons, and for how long; Section IV provides first-hand accounts of prisoners, corrections staff and family members regarding their respective experiences living, working and supporting loved ones in extreme isolation; and Section V outlines the NYCLU's findings, discusses recent reforms in other States, describes an emerging consensus among international human rights bodies and legal scholars critiquing extreme isolation and advocates for evidence-based practices that would end the use of extreme isolation in New York prisons. Endnotes