Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Lockdown New York: Disciplinary Confinement in New York State Prisons

Lockdown New York: Disciplinary Confinement in New York State Prisons

The findings from Correctional Association visits to nearly every disciplinary housing unit in New York – 49 visits to 26 lockdown units – reveal a disturbing picture characterized by emotional and physical distress, a reliance on warehousing instead of treatment, high rates of mental illness, suicide and self-mutilation, low staff moral and unsafe working conditions for prison guards and administrative staff.

New York prisons confine nearly 5,000 inmates, 7.6% of the total inmate population, in highly restrictive disciplinary lockdown units for 23 to 24 hours per day. Minimal human contact occurs inside lockdown facilities where there is little natural light and virtually nothing for inmates to do. The enforced idleness and reduced environmental stimulation can last for months or years and lead to severe psychological debilitation.

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Keywords: disciplinary segregation, administrative segregation, restrictive housing, restricted housing, segregation, segregated housing, isolation, torture, discrimination, segregated housing and mental health, New York, mental health treatment