Statement on the Signing of the HALT Solitary Confinement Act
Published on April 1st, 2021
Following is a statement by Dennis Poust, interim executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, on the signing of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act:
“I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act into law. Criminal Justice reform organizations, including the Catholic Conference, have fought for years for fundamental reform and alternatives to long-term incarceration. With this law, that goal has finally been achieved.
“For generations far too many men, women, and even teens have been left to suffer for months and years in solitary confinement, an experience that amounts to torture. The extreme isolation only serves to exacerbate the root causes that lead to prison disciplinary issues to begin with, such as anger, anti-social behavior, or mental illness, putting public safety at further risk when incarcerated individuals are released back into society, sometimes directly from a solitary confinement cell.
“This law reforms the system, while still allowing correctional institutions to utilize alternative measures, as well as continued limited use of solitary confinement.
“Cardinal Dolan and the NYS Bishops extend their gratitude to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senator Julia Salazar, Assemblymember Jeff Aubry, and all of the legislative sponsors and advocates whose tireless work led to this day.”
The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.