Punitive Segregation

Punitive Segregation Has Been An Effective Tool In Controlling Criminal/Violent Behavior, And Enforcing Rules And Regulations Within The Jail System Almost As Long As The System Has Been In Existence. Since Many Criminals And Violent Offenders Do Not Stop This Behavior Merely By Being Incarcerated, Officials Tasked With The Care, Custody, And Control Of These Inmates Must Apply, And Enforce Rules And Regulations Within The Confines Of The Facilities, Just As Society Does Outside The Walls.

In Our Society, Confinement Of A Member Of The General Public To Jail/Prison Is Punitive Segregation (Confined 24 Hours A Day, No Access To Friends/Family, No Work, Very Limited Freedom, Inability To Continue Daily Operations Ie: Pay Bills, Help Sick Family, Provide For Family, Protect Household, Etc...). Once A Person Is Arrested, And Confined To A Jail/Prison, The Rules And Regulations Do Not Cease To Exist. One Of Several Tools To Control Criminal/Violent Behavior, And Enforce These Rules, And Regulations Is Punitive Segregation; It Is A Non Violent Way Of Effecting A Punitive Action On Offenders After A Due Process Hearing Is Conducted. It Also Reduces Staff/Inmate Physical Confrontations, And Injuries To Both Parties.

The Punitive Segregation Process Is A Way For Staff To Enforce Rules And Regulations, And Deter Criminal/Violent Acts Without Physically Having To Confront The Alleged Perpetrator (Which May Result In A Use Of Force). It Is Also A Way For The Inmate To Receive A Due Process Hearing To Ensure That They Are Not Being Unfairly Targeted.

A Jail Within A Jail

To Sum Up Punitive Segregation Is Jail Within Jail. In Society Certain People Commit Crimes, And Are Confined To A Sub Culture Of Society (Jail/Prison). Within That Subculture Crimes Are Committed, And Rules Are Violated. Punitive Segregation Is Merely A Non-Violent Way Of Disciplining Inmates For Violations Committed Within That Sub Culture In The Same Way Incarceration Serves As A Tool To Discipline The General Public For Violations Committed In Society. Punitive Segregation Is A Deterrent To Inmates, Just As Jail Is A Deterrent To The General Public.

The New York City Department Of Correction Is A Jail System, Not A Prison System. The Average Stay Of An Inmate Incarcerated On Rikers Island Is 56 Days, Not 25 Years To Life. Certainly With The Latter Sentence, Prolonged Punitive Segregation Time (Years) Would Clearly Have Some Sort Of Adverse Effect.

Inmates Incarcerated By Nycdoc Have A Much Shorter Stay, And Are Entitled To Many Programs, And Positive Activities, Such As Ride, Drug/Alcohol Counseling, Religious Services, Recreational Services, Special Events, Law Library, Commissary, Haircuts, Television Programs, Movies, Among Various Activities Within The Housing Area Setting (Checkers, Chess, Cards, Games, Puzzles, Etc...). The Average Punitive Segregation Stay Is Approximately 30 Days, With The Exception Of Violent Offenders.

A Non-Adversarial Tool

There Is A Balance Between The Amount Of Positive Tools Available To Doc To Assist In Rehabilitation, And Reducing Recidivism, And Tools For Promoting Discipline/Good Order In The Institution. Punitive Segregation Is The Most Non-Violent/Non-Adversarial Tool In Doc For Enforcing Rules And Regulations. If Punitive Segregation Was Removed As A Tool For Addressing/Enforcing Rules, Then Staff Members Would Have To Rely More Heavily On Force As A Method Of Enforcement. This Would Clearly Increase Use Of Force Events, As Well As Injuries To Staff And Inmates Alike. It Is My Belief That Most Inmate Advocates Want To Reduce

The Amount Of Uses Of Force Between Staff And Inmates In Correctional Institutions, And Find Other Non- Confrontational Means Of Enforcing Rules. Removing, Or Limiting Punitive Segregation As A Tool To Control Inmates Criminal Behavior Within The Penal System Would Be A Mistake That Is Sure To Set The Care, Custody, And Control Of Some Of Nyc’s Most Violent Offenders Back Decades. It Would Also Significantly Increase Violent Confrontations Between Correctional Personnel, And Inmates, And Ensure Many More Serious Injuries On Both Sides.

Serious Mentally Ill Inmates

Serious Mental Illness Is Certainly A Concern For Us All, And Inmates With Serious Mental Illness (Though Very Difficult To Deal With), May Not Benefit From Prolonged Punitive Segregation. However, These Inmates Need To Be Identified Prior To Being Received At Any Detention Facility. Their Accompanying Cards Should Be Properly Flagged For Possible Alternate Applications Of Punitive Measures Such As Alternative Housing Areas, And/Or Modified Segregation. It Is My Suggestion That In The Same Fashion That Alleged Criminals Are Seen By Medical Staff, And Evaluated Upon Being Processed For Incarceration, They Should Also Receive A Comprehensive Psychological Examination As Well To Determine Any Contraindications Precluding That Individual From Being Subject To Normal Punitive Segregation Procedures.

Adolescents & Punitive Segregation

Excluding Adolescents From Being Subjected To Punitive Segregation Would Be Counterproductive, In That Adolescents In The Nycdoc Commit The Largest Number Of Violent Offenses When Compared To Any Other Group. The Removal Of Punitive Segregation As A Tool For Doc Would Immediately Increase Violence In The Jails.

The Nys Labor Law Has A “Workplace Violence Reduction Program”, Which Mandates Employers To Formulate And Regulate A Program Which Is Proactive In The Reduction Of Violence To Employees. Steps Must Be Taken With Representatives Of The Employees To Ensure The Reduction Of Violence, And/Or Potentially Violent Situations. The Modification, And/Or Elimination Of The Punitive Segregation Process Will Pose An Eminent And Significant Increase In Violence At The Doc. It Is Most Certain To Increase Violent Confrontations, And Result In Injuries To Staff And Inmates Alike, And Surely Thwart All Previous Violence Reduction Efforts If Any.