Former Rikers Inmate Says Solitary Confinement Left Him With ‘psychological Damages’

Wagswoofs – Victor Pate, who served his time in solitary confinement at Rikers Island, still carries the weight of his experience decades later.

Pate still experiences psychological damages to this day.

Pate enthusiastically attended the City Hall event on Wednesday to support the approval of a bill that aims to prohibit all types of prolonged solitary confinement.

The bill addresses the issue of temporary “de-escalation confinement” and emergency lock-ins.

    • limits the holds to specific areas inside jail
    • caps them at a max of four hours a day
    • requires mandatory incident reporting
    • tightens rules for using restraints

In order to address the issue of long-term restrictive housing, the bill mandates that inmates must adhere to certain requirements.

    • still have access to “interaction with other people”
    • and have access to a minimum of seven hours a day for “out of cell congregate activities” in a 24-hour period

According to psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, individuals who are placed in solitary confinement may experience a range of problems, including the worsening of mental illness, psychosis, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.

Jumaane Williams, the Public Advocate of New York City, is one of the sponsors of the bill.

According to Williams, isolation can be torturous and have a long-lasting psychological impact.

The bill was condemned by the Republican-led Common-Sense Caucus in the New York City Council, as well as correction union and other law enforcement officials. They held a rally outside City Hall to express their concerns and accused Williams of endangering the safety of correction officers.

“This is going to raise and embolden the inmates to commit more violent acts,” said Benny Boscia, the president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.

PIX11 News contacted Mayor Eric Adams’ office for a comment regarding the matter. A spokesperson from the mayor’s team stated that Adams is similarly opposed to solitary confinement and will review the bill before offering a recommendation. However, it is worth noting that the City Council may have enough backing to override the mayor’s potential veto, making this issue somewhat irrelevant.

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