Correction union leaders are blasting a new proposal that would ban solitary confinement in city jails — claiming it would lead to more attacks on both guards and inmates.
“As the violence and chaos continues in our city jails, our city public officials are discussing further eliminating punitive segregation, aka the ‘bing’ or solitary confinement,” Joseph Russo, President of the Assistant Deputy Wardens and Deputy Wardens Association, wrote to The Post.
Russo was reacting to a bill that was introduced in City Council Friday seeking to all but eliminate the controversial tactic.
The city has already begun to curb its use of “punitive segregation,” the practice of isolating misbehaving inmates from the general inmate population, following Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to end it.
Correction union officials claim the shift, among others geared toward what progressives say is a more humane approach to incarceration, is dangerous for their members.
“Since this effort of being kind and considerate to violent criminals and gang members began, it has been clear that it does not work. It has not made us safer, it has not produced any positive results,” Russo wrote.
He was referring to September stats that show a 284 percent increase in serious injuries among city jail inmates.
“Assaults on staff have risen dramatically. Inmate on inmate assaults and serious injuries to inmates are more frequent,” he said.
“There are little to no consequences for violent and unruly behavior. The criminals recognized this right away and responded by being more bold, more difficult, and more violent. Predators are keen at detecting weakness and exploiting it.”
The bill introduced Friday by Queens Democratic Councilman Daniel Dromm would limit isolation in a solitary cell to four hours. Current city laws allow inmates to be kept in solitary confinement for up to 20 hours at a time.
Russo said the legislation favors criminals over correction officers.
“Are we considering all the uniform and civilian employees that have been attacked and hurt in recent years? Is the safety and well being of the employees, who have never committed any crimes, less important than the safety and wellbeing of the violent criminals?” Russo seethed.
“What about a compromise, can we come to an agreement that we, the employees, are at least equally as important as the offenders and make decisions or changes based on this understanding?”
Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Benny Boscio Jr. said in the Friday council hearing that the move would hamstring his officers, according to a report.
“If you remove this tool to protect us and nonviolent inmates from violent offenders, what do you intend to replace it with?” Boscio Jr. said.
Dromm wasn’t fazed.
“It’s time to change,” Dromm reportedly replied. “Remember the people that have died under your supervision, sir, and the people you have harmed sir, by your insistence on punitive segregation, which is actually solitary confinement, which is torture.”