NYC Defenders’ Statement on Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ Comments on Solitary Confinement

December 16, 2021

Chi Nguyen, The Bronx Defenders (
Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (
Daniel Ball, Brooklyn Defender Services (
Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services (
Hettie Powell, Queens Defenders ( 


NYC Defenders’ Statement on Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ Comments on Solitary Confinement

(NEW YORK, NY) – Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, New York County Defender Services, and Queens Defenders released the following statement in response to Mayor-elect Eric Adams indicating his intention to reinstate solitary confinement at Rikers on January 1:  

“Solitary confinement has taken the lives of Kalief Browder, Layleen Polanco, Brandon Rodriguez, and countless others who have suffered the torturous conditions of the practice. Calling for people to be locked up in perpetual solitary confinement on the heels of the deaths of Malcolm Boatwright and William Brown ⁠— the 15th and 16th people to die in DOC custody this year ⁠— is not only inhumane, dangerous, and unconscionable; it also fails to grasp the root causes of the humanitarian crisis in the city’s jails. 

As anyone who has spent time on Rikers knows, the culture of violence and brutality is inherent in our dependence on pre-trial incarceration and the punitive nature of confinement. The answer to the crisis on Rikers Island is not more punishment. The Board of Correction agrees that punitive segregation does not provide safety.

We hope and expect that the mayor-elect will not make any decisions about solitary confinement without first hearing from impacted people, advocates, and experts on the topic.”