Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat led the Democratic members of New York City Delegation in a letter to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Echoing their support to ban solitary confinement in New York City.
“Solitary confinement is torture, and it is long past time for us to fix the institutional problems that have plagued our criminal legal system since its inception in our nation,” wrote the members. “As you know, solitary confinement is just one of the many inhumane and racist facets of this system – and we must look no further than the fact that Black people make up 18% of the population in New York but account for 48% of the population in state prisons and nearly 60% of the population currently held in solitary within our state.”
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The letter follows an announcement from the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) that it will continue to use solitary confinement as a proposed practice in its 2021 Risk Management Accountability System (RMAS), where individuals may be locked alone in a cell for up to 23 hours a day, indefinitely.
The members continued, “Solitary confinement is a travesty, and New York City has an historic opportunity to lead the nation in ending this torturous and deadly practice. We believe you can help make our legal system one focused on rehabilitation and mental health – and not on retribution.”
The letter was signed by 11 Members of Congress including: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14); Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07); Jamaal Bowman, EdD (NY-16); Gregory Meeks (NY-05); Ritchie Torres (NY-15); Jerold Nadler (NY-10); Yvette Clarke (NY-09); Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12); Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08); and Grace Meng (NY-06).
Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the northwest Bronx.
First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.
He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves in a leadership role as the Second Vice-Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.
Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.