De Blasio and Commissioner Joseph Ponte
Mayor Bill de Blasio has hailed the vote by the Department of Corrections’ Board barring isolation in detention of people younger than 21.
For the first time in years, Rikers Island will be at the forefront of national jail reform efforts, thanks to reforms under Commissioner Ponte and the unanimous vote of the Board of Correction,” de Blasio said, in a statement. “Today’s vote to eliminate punitive segregation for inmates under 21 years old and to create a new, non-punitive housing unit for the most violent inmates will enhance the safety and security of every person on Rikers Island.
“We have listened to the needs of correction officers, health care workers, advocates and inmates, and the Board’s decision will help Commissioner Ponte implement his comprehensive strategy to enhance safety, reduce jail-based violence and promote better inmate outcomes,” the mayor added.
“For years, New York City has locked people up without the provision of adequate programs and treatment to change their thinking and their behavior. Under Commissioner Ponte’s leadership, we have ended the Department’s over-reliance on punitive segregation, we’ve begun to offer enhanced programming and treatment options, and we are pursuing evidence-based practices that will lead to a safer and more humane system.”