Restrictive Housing Rulemaking 2017

Rationale and Approach

In January 2016, in response to the increase in new restrictive housing options pursued by the Department, concerns about due process and fairness, and an ongoing focus on increasing safety in the jails, the Board voted to enter rulemaking on the topic of restrictive housing. The restrictive housing currently in use in DOC facilities looks markedly different than when the Minimum Standards were created and the only options were punitive segregation and general population. This rulemaking will extend the Board's Standards so that they can appropriately address "the care, custody, correction, treatment, supervision, and discipline" issues associated with the restrictive housing options now in use and those that may be established in the future. Our rules must be sufficiently broad to guide and shape such change and sufficiently detailed as to be meaningful and enforceable. Restrictive housing guidelines promulgated by the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Correctional Association, and the American Bar Association reflect this approach.

Restrictive housing is a broad topic which raises many complex and interrelated issues. The Board's ad hoc Rulemaking Committee on Restrictive Housing — comprised of Acting Chair Cephas and Members Cohen, Hamill and Jones Austin - will conduct comprehensive fact-finding that will include discussions with a variety of stakeholders, including the Board's City and State partners, local elected officials, labor unions, the local defense bar and criminal justice advocates, national criminal justice organizations and oversight entities; correctional experts, and academics. The Committee will also conduct its own research, and review relevant directives, policies, procedures, data analyses, studies and reports. The Committee will consider all public comments. Currently, the Committee estimates that the rulemaking process - including fact-finding, drafting proposed and final rules and holding related public meetings — will take approximately one year. Throughout this process, the Committee will periodically provide updates at Board meetings.


Rulemaking goals include, but are not limited to:

  • Improve and standardize initial placement, placement review, and exit criteria; procedural due process protections; and baseline training, heightened supervision, and programming requirements.
  • Establish guidelines for a continuum of options that respond appropriately and in the least restrictive manner necessary to respond to gradations of safety and security risk and/or punishment.
  • Emphasize restorative justice (accountability, dialogue, inclusion, participation, healing, repair, reintegration, and community strengthening) in the context of discipline and restrictive housing.
  • Emphasize procedural justice through commitment to improving fairness, perceptions of fairness, and overall regard for the restrictive housing process.
  • Address individual, status, and housing restrictions to allow for an integrated approach.
  • Establish effective ways to monitor and enforce compliance and achieve required reporting from DOC and CHA to the Board and public, including through enhanced monitoring of classification and movement of people in custody.

Written Comments

Share Your Ideas

Do you have ideas about restrictive housing in the NYC jails or proposed rules on restrictive housing? Please share them with us by filling out the form below. Your comments will be included with those collected and reviewed during the Board's fact-finding process in connection with proposing rules on restrictive housing. You will also have the opportunity to comment in writing and/or orally at a public hearing on proposed rules. Note: The Board has not yet proposed a rule.

Fill out the form below to share your ideas with us. Your comment will be included with those collected and reviewed during our fact-finding process.

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