The New York City Board of Corrections has voted to end solitary confinement in the City’s jails, though critics still say that the changes do not do enough for inmates. 

But the new model, which is set to be put into effect in the fall, offers wide-ranging changes to make conditions more “humane” for prisoners. 

The changes include giving inmates a chance to receive attorney representation at infraction hearings, to spend at least 10 hours outside of a cell and to participate in more social functions with those around them.

Under the new rule, jail systems would not be able to keep an inmate in a cell alone for more than 20 to 24 hours a day. Instead of solitary confinement, those who act out or prove to be at high risk of violence would be put into the Risk Model Accountability System (RMAS). Those who commit violence on fellow inmates and staff would go through disciplinary hearings with the Department of Corrections officers.  

Even if it is decided that the inmate should be separated from others, they will have access to case managers. During that time, they will be let out of their cells for at least 12 hours as they progress through level two of the disciplinary training.

These reforms stem from initiatives taken in 2015 that banned solitary confinement for 16 to 21-year-old people and for those with serious mental health illnesses.

The Board made the decision after speaking with advocates, researchers and family members of those who have been in the jail system’s solitary confinement before.

“Through our work with our Board of Correction, we have found a plan that will provide a safe and human environment for those who are incarcerated and officers alike,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. 

According to New York City Police Department, there have about 564 shootings in the city, a 77.4% increase from around this time last year. In just the last week of May, the city had 33 shootings. The number of shooting victims has increased by 76.9% from this time last year.

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