NYC ends solitary jailing of mentally ill inmates

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City has ended a controversial program in which mentally ill inmates were placed in solitary confinement for breaking the rules.

The Wall Street Journal (http://on.wsj.com/1klE9zA ) says the last of the prisoners held in the Mental Health Assessment Unit for Infracted Inmates at Rikers Island were reassigned Dec. 31.

The controversial program began in 1998. On average, the Journal says mentally ill inmates spent 53½ days in solitary confinement during the first six months of 2013.

Mentally ill inmates who break the rules will now be sent to one of two units. One is modeled after an inpatient hospital psychiatric ward. The other involves restrictive housing that involves solitary confinement but is an incentive-based behavioral program.

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Information from: The Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com

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