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NY State, NYCLU Reach Agreement Over Solitary Confinement

New York state officials have signed a five-year agreement with the New York Civil Liberties Union that will reshape the way solitary confinement works in the state's prisons.

The agreement follows two years of negotiation which began when the NYCLU sued the state Corrections Department for allegedly over-using solitary confinement.

NYCLU president Donna Lieberman called New York's system of isolation cells "brutal and inhumane." She said that the practice "is literally torture."

Under the agreement, New York State will immediately move roughly 1100 inmates into alternative programs. They will also develop training programs for corrections officers designed to discourage the use of isolation for discipline and security.

Prisoners held in solitary for more than 180 days will receive additional counseling, social time, and access to telephones.