Corrections officers rally for repeal of law limiting solitary confinement

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Lawmakers are renewing their push to overturn legislation on how inmates are housed.

Legislators and correctional officers held a news conference outside Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Washington County on Wednesday.

The corrections officers union says violence has increased dramatically inside state prisons since April, when a new law, called “The HALT Law” went into effect. It limits when inmates can be held in solitary confinement.

The union says an officer was attacked and suffered a broken eye socket Monday at the medium security Washington Correctional Facility.

Anisah Sabur, the #HALTsolitary campaign organizer, released this statement:

“Solitary confinement is torture, and the evidence is clear that it leads to more violence both in prisons and after people return to the outside community. Some officers want to preserve their Jim Crow system and they are afraid of losing their jobs and some politicians are pandering to them. Countless people had to suffer and die in solitary for lawmakers to finally act and make this bill a law after nearly a decade of deliberation with all stakeholders. It’s ironic that today’s press conference took place outside Great Meadow Prison, which is widely recognized as one of the most abusive and corrupt facilities in the state. With only 4.3 percent of the prison system’s population, Great Meadow also saw nearly 20 percent of its suicide attempts and 12 percent of its self-harm incidents. Now, prisons and jails across the state must fully and effectively implement the law and utilize alternatives proven to improve safety and well-being for all. We are prepared to fight to make that happen.”