New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams received support from Blacks in Law Enforcement of America (BLEA) this week on his plan to undo a recent policy by incumbent mayor Bill deBlasio that would ban solitary confinement in the city in favor of a system to support and correct violent behavior by prisoners in city jails.
Mayor de Blasio aimed to severely limit the use of solitary confinement and replace it with “a system that aims to provide the care and support needed to address violent behavior and better ensure safety for all,” as described by Board of Correction Chair and CEO and Executive Director of FPWA, Jennifer Jones Austin earlier this year.
The plan was delayed amid a staff shortage this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting national worker shortages. Critics of the plan, including BLEA, have pointed to an uptick in violence against prison workers this year as area prisons experience a rise in inmates, a lack of available staff, and the pandemic causing a high volume of officer call-outs as a reason to reverse de Blasio’s policy against punitive solitary.
“Our correctional facilities are a microcosm of society,” said Damon Jones, NY’s BLEA representative, said in a statement last week. “When people break laws in society, you want them to go to jail. But when people break the rules and regulations of the prison, you instead give them PlayStations, laptops, and IPads. These actions do not send a message to our residents, civilians, or officers that our facilities are safe and secure.”
Adams has pledged to reverse the policy on his first day in office, telling reporters, “They better enjoy that one-day reprieve because Jan. 1, they’re going back into punitive segregation if they commit a violent act.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THECITY.NYC
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