Legal Aid Society


LAS Decries Placement of Young People in Isolated Confinement

The Legal Aid Society, in a recently issued letter to the New York City Board of Correction (BOC), condemned the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) for exploiting an “emergency variance declaration” to place young adults under 21 in Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH), a form of isolated confinement, reports THE CITY.

The overwhelming majority of young people sent to ESH are Black and Latinx, and the conditions to which they are subjected–included being shackled to tables during limited time out of their cells–are inhumane. DOC issued this declaration on Monday, and repeated it on Tuesday.

The claim of an “emergency” is an end-run around BOC minimum standards designed to protect the health and safety of everyone in City jails. Nothing in the declaration describes a true emergency such as a water main break. Instead, the declaration is simply a reiteration of the same vague security justifications the Department always advances in support of its efforts to keep youth in ESH.

“It’s an abuse of the process calling it an emergency,” said Mary Lynne Werlwas, Director of The Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.