The Bronx Defenders Solitary Confinement Project captures the devastating stories of Bronx Defenders clients currently or formerly held in solitary confinement at Rikers Island, and also helps clients file Article 78 forms, which are used to challenge placements in solitary confinement.
In September 2014, the Bronx Defenders Solitary Confinement Project released Voices from the Box: Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island, a report summarizing the experiences of 59 clients held in solitary confinement between July 2013 and August 2014. The report brings the voices of people who have experienced solitary confinement firsthand into the ongoing conversation regarding the future of Rikers.
Together, the interviews expose a systemic practice that is unquestionably inhumane, raises serious Eighth Amendment issues, and deserves the label torture. The report details key areas of concern including the young age of many individuals subjected to solitary confinement, the duration of solitary confinement, and the regularity with which people suffering from mental illness were placed in solitary confinement. While The Bronx Defenders’ ultimate recommendation is for the Department of Correction to end the practice of solitary confinement, the report also includes intermediate steps that the Department of Correction can take to immediately to reduce the suffering that individuals continue to experience daily in solitary confinement at Rikers.