My son has been in solitary for 8 days now, for feeding the cravings of a DISEASE. No one cares. He was denied a clergy visit on Tuesday. He hasn’t met with any counsel. In his hearings they just berate & shame him for his actions. (His actions while operating in his reptile brain in which the drugs take over- leaving rational thinking & empathy by the wayside).
My Momma heart hurts & even in the Mom support group I still get “let him go”.
HE IS HUMAN. With a disease, just like a heart disease patient eating at McDonald’s or a diabetic at crispy kreme, but we would never shame them for trying to get what they crave, let alone arrest them.
I understand the law is the law, but it’s a hypocritical law. A society that glamorizes alcohol and even some drug use (like cocaine in movies); immediately does a 180 & looks down on those who can’t stop and becomes addicted.
"It's just a matter of wanting it bad enough"
It’s just not as simple as that, it takes time and for sure exiling them to isolation like Napoleon was- clearly isn’t working.
Yesterday I heard an inmate at the same facility my son is in, tell the judge that it’s really frustrating to be put in solitary just for handing a magazine to someone else. The judge proceeded to berate him by saying, “I get mad a hundred times a day and I don’t lash out at other people or I would get myself in a lot of trouble. You have to learn a better way”. So the solution is to isolate & shame them even more than addicts already are?
This is from the state of New York. I wish there was someone from my state to advocate for my son. I’m exhausted.
Testimony of Corey J. Brinson
Legal Action Center
New York City Council
Before the Committee on Criminal Justice
December 11, 2020
My name is Corey Brinson. I am a Policy Associate with the Legal Action Center. The
Legal Action Center uses legal and policy strategies to fight discrimination, build health equity,
and restore opportunity for people with arrest and conviction records, substance use disorders, and
HIV or AIDS. I am testifying in favor of eliminating the practice of solitary confinement in New
York City jails.
I have endured difficult times in my lifetime. I have endured the high crime and violence
of my inner-city neighborhood. I was stationed in Saudi Arabia with the United States Airforce
on September 11, 2001, and I reacted to the alarms indicating that we were at war. But the most
difficult experience I have endured is being held in solitary confinement for several days. That
experience of living in a cell, which was the size of a large closet, with no clock, lights that went
off at midnight, no privacy for sleeping, showering, and being feed through a slot in my cell door
was psychological torture. You can tell a lot about a country by how it treats the people it
incarcerates. Placing people in solitary confinement for any period of extended time is immoral,
unethical, and it should be unlawful.
People need meaningful social interactions with other people to maintain their mental
health. People in prison are already isolated from society. They are already isolated from their
communities and their families. And when they are placed in solitary confinement, they have been
essentially buried alive. Placing people in solitary confinement says more about us as a society, as
lawmakers, and as a community than what it says about the people behind those cold walls. I
acknowledge that we have made strides to reduce the number of people being subjected to solitary
confinement. The number of people who have been subjected to solitary confinement has reduced
significantly. But one person in solitary confinement is one person too many.
The laws in this state treat animals better than people in prison. Under New York Law §
356 “[a] person who, having impounded or confined any animal, refuses or neglects to supply to
such animal during its confinement a sufficient supply of good and wholesome air… is guilty of a
misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more
than one thousand dollars, or by both.” If an animal is worthy of good and wholesome air, then
should not a human being, who is subjected to the confines and cruelty of living in a closet for
extended periods of time, being granted the same freedoms as an animal? We cannot countenance
a law that treats people worse than we treat animals. Solitary confinement does just that for too
Solitary confinement damages the mental health of the people subjected to its cruel and unusual punishment.
When we damage the people in solitary confinement’s mental health, we damage their opportunities, we damage
their families, and we therefore damage their communities. It should not go unnoticed that a disproportionate
number of these people are Black and Latinx—evidence of the systemic racist criminal legal system. I ask that
you pass this bill and begin providing relief to the scores of people suffering in solitary confinement as we speak.
There is an argument that this bill is moving too fast through the legislative process. For the people who are cut off
from any meaningful interactions with other people, this bill is already too late. The Legal Action Center
encourages you to immediately end solitary confinement in New York City jails.