Rule-Change Vote on Use of Solitary in NYC Jails

NEW YORK (AP) -

The authority charged with overseeing the New York City Department of Correction has voted to start making rules on when prisoners on Rikers Island can be placed in solitary confinement.

The New York City Board of Correction voted unanimously Monday. It will likely be months before specific language is drafted and adopted.

A subcommittee of the board last month voted unanimously to change the way the department uses solitary confinement for mentally ill prisoners and adolescents.

Advocates argue the practice is cruel and is used too routinely. They point to research showing mentally ill prisoners in solitary are at an increased risk for injury.

There are about 12,000 inmates in city jails. About 39 percent of the daily inmate population has a mental health diagnosis.