Minute of Conscience: Solitary Confinement

Minute of Conscience on Solitary Confinement

Spring Sessions 2015


2015-04-18. Mary Eagleson (Scarsdale), clerk of the Witness Coordinating Committee, introduced Pamela Wood (Morningside).  She presented a seasoned and updated proposal, previously recommended by the Witness Coordinating Committee, that the Yearly Meeting issue a public statement on solitary confinement.  It affirms Friends' belief in personal transformation and nonviolence, and against psychological torture.  It proposes a Minute for our adoption, calling for a halt to the use of solitary confinement in prisons.  The pending legislation, New York State bill (A.4401 / S.2659), is titled "Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act ." 
    Some Friends stated a preference that our public statements and minutes express clearly the spiritual witness and the experience of the Society of Friends, such as are referred to in the proposal read by Mary Eagleson.  Friends approved the proposal, including the Minute as follows:

The New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends calls on Governor Cuomo to support the reform of the practice of solitary confinement in the state correctional facilities and local jails of New York, as developed in the Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act, Bill #A4401/S2659. With the enactment of the changes in the use of solitary confinement proposed in the Act, New York would become a leader in the effort to stop human rights abuses in the United States. 

    Friends also directed its Clerk and General Secretary to draft a cover letter to be issued to the Governor and members of the Legislature with the foregoing Minute, so as to convey to all that witness and that experience.

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