The New York City Council is expected to pass legislation banning city jails from imposing solitary confinement on inmates in the vast majority of circumstances after a committee approved it Wednesday morning.
The legislation, which will go before the full council Wednesday afternoon, comes despite protests from the New York City Police Department and Mayor Eric Adams. Adams has already vowed to veto the bill, but advocates say the City Council has enough votes to override the veto.
“I don’t think this is thought through, and anyone who has knowledge of a correctional facility would tell you that you can’t leave dangerous people in a general population,” Adams told a local city outlet Tuesday.
The city’s bill would ban solitary confinement in all cases aside from a four-hour de-escalation period to be used in the event of an emergency. It would also require that all inmates be allowed 14 hours per day outside their cells.
The bill’s supporters on the council argue solitary confinement constitutes torture. Council member Yusef Salaam, who was convicted in the Central Park Five case, is among the bill’s 38 sponsors, according to The New York Times.
“You can hear people crying out,” he told the outlet. “You can hear people in pain. You can hear people going through a mental breakdown. It’s one of the most horrific things to experience.”
A number of prominent members of Congress have put their support behind the effort, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.