Skylar Albertson spoke before NYC Board of Correction on solitary confinement concerns

On November 18th, Skylar Albertson spoke at a NYC Board of Correction (BOC) meeting concerning the use of solitary confinement and the Department of Correction’s (DOC) proposal to create Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH) units at Rikers Island. The BOC, an independent oversight agency responsible for setting guidelines for the DOC, has been engaged in a rule-making process throughout the past year concerning the use of solitary confinement. Skylar spoke on behalf of The Bronx Defenders to bring attention to the lack of due process and therapeutic and educational programming for individuals who would be placed in ESH units and for individuals who have been and continue to be held in solitary confinement at Rikers Island. The Bronx Defenders also submitted a letter to the BOC listing a number of concerns regarding the use of solitary confinement and the establishment of ESH units, which involve up to 17 hours of isolation per day without adequate access to therapeutic and educational programming.

Despite strong opposition by The Bronx Defenders and allied groups such as the Jails Action Coalition (JAC), the BOC voted to approve the DOC’s proposal, initiating a period of public comment that will culminate with a second BOC meeting and vote on Friday, December 19th. The Bronx Defenders urges the BOC not to approve the DOC proposal. Instead, the BOC should require the DOC to commit in writing to a comprehensive plan that involves increased programming for incarcerated people, therapeutic alternatives to solitary confinement, and improved care for individuals suffering from mental illness.