No. Punitive Segregation (PSEG, also known as solitary confinement) is a restrictive housing area where people are locked in their cells for twenty-three (23) hours of the day as punishment for a violent offense (In June 2019, the Department of Correction implemented punitive segregation reforms in order to provide all individuals in restrictive housing a minimum of four hours out-of-cell daily. These reforms implement new NYS Commission of Correction regulations for jails). In 2015, the Board approved rules prohibiting DOC from placing young adults in punitive segregation. Since October 2016, there have been no young adults in punitive segregation in the New York City jails.
To come into compliance with Minimum Standard 1-17, which prohibits DOC from placing YAs in PSEG, DOC developed alternative housing options, beginning with the implementation of the Second Chance Housing Unit (SCHU) on February 23rd, 2016 and the Transitional Restorative Unit (TRU) on April 21st, 2016. According to DOC directives, both units are designated for YAs who exhibit and incite aggressive and/or negative behavior that significantly threatens the safety of staff and other youth or the security of the facility.
Following the opening of TRU and SCHU, two additional alternative housing units were opened to accommodate the depopulation of YAs from PSEG: the Secure Unit (Secure) and Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH). On June 29th, 2016, Secure was opened. According to DOC directives, Secure Units are for YAs who have a history of persistent violent and/or assaultive behavior and/or whose assaultive behavior results in a serious injury to staff, the public, or other YAs. Secure addresses populations DOC deems inappropriate to place in SCHU or TRU.
ESH houses incarcerated persons who require an enhanced level of supervision for security reasons. Although the Board’s Minimum Standards bar the placement of YAs in ESH, the Board granted DOC a variance on July 12th, 2016, allowing the placement of YAs into ESH provided certain criteria are met. For example, placement in the most restrictive housing level of ESH states that “A young adult can be placed in YA-ESH Level 1 only if the person has recently participated in an actual or attempted slashing or stabbing, or engaged in activity that caused serious injury to an officer, another person in custody, or any other person, and provided that the use of a restraint desk is the least restrictive option necessary for the safety of others.” In ESH Level 1, YAs are afforded seven hours out-of-cell per day (this is half of the time afforded out of cell in general population) and, when out of cell, young adults are shackled by one ankle to a desk.
Between July – December 2018, no YAs were held in PSEG, 37% of YAs in restrictive housing were held in ESH, 42% in TRU, 11% in Secure and 10% in SCHU (N=62).
For a month-by-month look at DOC’s use of alternative to PSEG housing, select the graph to learn more:
Department of Correction Reports on Punitive Segregation
Department of Correction Reports on Enhanced Supervised and Secure Units
Board of Correction Reports on Enhanced Supervision Housing Assessment (ESH)