By Lisa Armstrong
In October, 2014, Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York reached a settlement with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (doccs) in Cookehorne v. Fischer, which stipulated that minors in restricted confinement should be allowed out of their cells for six hours a day on weekdays–two for recreation time, and four for educational programming–and for two hours a day on weekends. Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against county jails in upstate New York: one in Onondaga County, which was settled in June and led to an end of solitary confinement for inmates under eighteen; and a second in Broome County, which was filed in July. In October, New York State’s Commission on Correction issued new standards for solitary confinement, which would mandate that local jails provide at least four hours of out-of-cell time for all inmates in isolation, including adults, and that jail officials notify the state when placing someone under the age of eighteen in solitary. Those rules, if approved, would not go into effect until January. So, for now, most county jails continue to determine their own rules for juvenile solitary confinement.