Today, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) released a report on the use of solitary confinement in the New York correctional system.  Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York’s Prisons, is the product of an intensive, year-long investigation that involved communication with more than 100 people who have spent significant amounts of time – in one case, more than 20 years – in extreme isolation.

The findings don't reveal anything we don't already know.  Based on a year of study and analysis, the NYCLU found that:

  • New York’s use of extreme isolation is arbitrary and unjustified.
  • Extreme isolation harms prisoners and corrections staff.
  • Extreme isolation negatively impacts prison and community safety.
It was the same in Maine.  Thanks to recent reforms by the Maine Department of Corrections, Maine has successfully improved human rights, cut costs and maintained safety at the Maine State Prison by reducing solitary confinement by more than 70% in one year.

The ACLU of Maine will present our 2012 Roger Baldwin Award to a journalist that helped set the table for solitary reform in Maine.   Lance Tapley wrote numerous harrowing articles exposing solitary confinement for what it is:  torture.

The Roger Baldwin Award will be presented at our Annual Meeting & Celebration in Orono on October 25th.