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New York City Mayor Eric Adams has vetoed a bill aimed at banning solitary confinement in city jails, stating that this move is in the interest of safety.

In a press release, he said, “Under our administration, the city’s jails are getting safer — but this bill would have taken us in the wrong direction.” Adams also clarified that the city has not practiced solitary confinement for years and has seen a reduction in violence in the correction system without it.

The bill, which the New York City Council voted to advance last month, proposed that inmates should be allowed out of their cells for at least 14 hours daily for interaction, barring certain situations like de-escalation confinement or emergency lock-ins. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams criticized solitary confinement as “indefensible,” highlighting its severe impact on inmates’ mental health and basic human rights.

Adams, who has a background as a police captain, also vetoed a separate bill designed to enhance “transparency” in law enforcement encounters with civilians. He argued that such measures could impede police effectiveness, stating, “We don’t want to handcuff police. We want to handcuff bad people.”

Despite these vetoes, the City Council has indicated they are prepared to override both decisions, setting the stage for a potential legislative clash.

This follows a similar move from House Democrats who introduced a bill last July to eliminate solitary confinement in federal facilities, with Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) leading the charge and condemning the practice as “psychological torture” that “disproportionately impacts marginalized communities.”


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