Anthony v. New York State Department of Corrections & Community Supervision (DOCCS)

Scroll to case documents Date Filed: 05/07/2024 Status:

In May 2024, DRA filed a class action lawsuit along with The Legal Aid Society and Winston & Strawn LLP on behalf of incarcerated New Yorkers with disabilities against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”) and the New York State Office of Mental Health (“OMH”) for their ongoing violations of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act (“HALT”), legislation that went into effect on March 31, 2022 and that drastically reduces the permissible use of solitary confinement in prisons and jails throughout New York State. Read the complaint.

HALT prohibits prison and jail officials from placing incarcerated people with disabilities in solitary confinement. HALT’s protections are grounded in the broad scientific consensus that individuals with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to the disastrous and frequently irreversible medical and psychological consequences wrought by solitary confinement, and the growing penological consensus that solitary makes prisons less safe.

Despite this, DOCCS and OMH have continued to subject numerous people with disabilities to solitary confinement, which is defined under HALT as “any form of cell confinement…for more than 17 hours a day.”

Additionally, since HALT’s implementation, DOCCS and OMH have instituted policies that allow DOCCS to place in solitary confinement people with disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, speech disabilities, mobility disabilities requiring the use of walkers or canes, and people who are hard of hearing or have low vision —in clear violation of HALT’s broad protection for all people with disabilities.

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