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The NYCLU set out to investigate New York's use of extreme isolation. We explored the history that led to the emergence and expansion of the practice in New York. We asked who New York subjects to extreme isolation, for what reasons, and for how long. We sought to understand and articulate its effects on prisoners and their families, as well as an often-overlooked population -- the corrections staff assigned to watch them. We compared New York's use of extreme isolation with practices in other states and asked if the widespread use of the practice violates legal standards. Finally, we considered how reforming the use of extreme isolation would affect the safety of New York's prisons and communities.In order to answer these questions, the NYCLU conducted an intensive year-long investigation. We communicated with more than 100 prisoners who have spent significant amounts of time -- in one case, more than 20 years -- inside a SHU cell. We interviewed family members and corrections staff. We consulted corrections experts, mental health professionals, lawyers and academics. We read decades of DOCCS reports and press coverage recounting the history of New York's SHU expansion. We researched the scientific and academic literature regarding the use and effects of extreme isolation. We studied domestic and international legal standards governing extreme isolation and the steps undertaken by other states to reform their use of the practice. Finally, we reviewed DOCCS' internal regulations and policies and analyzed thousands of pages of official DOCCS records obtained through New York's open records laws.
Many public school districts across New York State provide sex-ed instruction that is inaccurate, incomplete and biased, according to Birds, Bees and Bias: How Absent Sex Ed Standards Fail New York's Students. This report examines sex-ed materials used during the 2009-2010 and 2010-11 school years from across New York State.
In this report the NYCLU provides a detailed picture of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program in 2011. This report examines stops, frisks, force, race, the recovery of weapons, and the treatment of the hundreds of thousands of innocent people stopped last year.
Currently, no statewide law explicitly prohibits discrimination against people whose appearance or identity does not conform to gender stereotypes. This means that people who are fired from their jobs, denied housing and services, and mistreated in the workplace, in stores and in restaurants merely because of theirappearance or gender identity do not have clear legal protection. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) would fix this problem by adding gender identity and gender expression to the categories currently included in New York State's antidiscrimination laws, such as sex, sexual orientation, race, religion and disability. This report explains why the legislature should pass GENDA.
The report offers policymakers 10 recommendations to protect patient privacy as New York state develops a centralized system for sharing electronic medical records. Those recommendations include:Require that the electronic systems employed by HIEs have the capability to sort and segregate medical information in order to comply with guaranteed privacy protections of New York and federal law. Presently, they do not.Offer patients the right to opt-out of the system altogether. Currently, people's records can be uploaded to the system without their consent.Require that patient consent forms offer clear information-sharing options. The forms should give patients three options: to opt-in and allow providers access to their electronic medical records, to opt-out except in the event of a medical emergency, or to opt-out altogether.Prohibit and sanction the misuse of medical information. New York must protect patients from potential bad actors--that small minority of providers who may abuse information out of fear, prejudice or malice.Prohibit the health information-sharing networks from selling data. The State Legislature should pass legislation prohibiting the networks from selling patients' private health information.
Justice Derailed: What Raids on Trains and Buses Reveal about Border Patrol's Interior Enforcement PracticesNovember 1, 2011
This report is the first-ever in-depth examination of the Border Patrol's transportation raids in upstate New York. It paints a disturbing picture of an agency resorting to aggressive policing tactics in order to increase arrest rates, without regard for the costs and consequences of its practices on New Yorkers' rights and freedoms. The report extends beyond transportation raids to other Border Patrol practices as well, raising serious concerns about an agency that appears to be driven by the belief that the regular rules of the Constitution do not apply to it.
This report analyzes 851 Taser incident reports from eight police departments across the state as well as 10 departments' policies and guidelines for using the weapons, which deliver up to 50,000 volts of electricity and have caused the deaths of more than a dozen New Yorkers in recent years. The report concludes that police officers throughout New York State are consistently misusing and overusing Tasers.
In the summer of 2010, national media attention turned to a plan to build a Muslim community center, to be called "Park51," a few blocks away from ground zero. Although the plan was first reported in late 2009, with a quote from the project's religious leader at the time stating that its goal was to "push back against the extremists," the proposal did not receive much media attention until May 2010.This report discusses the legal and cultural background against which these controversies are playing out, and details some of the recent attacks on Muslim communities in New York. It also offers recommendations for how our government and our communities can work to increase intercultural understanding of Muslim New Yorkers and reduce anti-Muslim sentiment in New York State.
This report summarizes the findings from our 2009-2010 survey and provides an assessment of Chancellor's Regulation A-832 in its second year. We hope it will provide a road map for improving compliance with Regulation A-832 and expanding Respect for All programming, as well as encourage the DOE to quickly come into compliance with the Dignity for All Students Act, a new state law that requires schools to take affirmative measures (training, counseling, education) to prevent and respond to incidents of bullying and harassment.
The New York Civil Liberties Union analyzed 10 years of discipline data from New York City schools, and found that:*The total number of suspensions in New York City grew at an alarming rate over the last decade: One out of every 14 students was suspended in 2008-2009; in 1999-2000 it was one in 25. In 2008-2009, this added up to more than 73,000 suspensions.*Students with disabilities are four times more likely to be suspended than students without disabilities.*Black students, who comprise 33 percent of the student body, served 53 percent of suspensions over the past 10 years. *Black students with disabilities represent more than 50 percent of suspended students with disabilities.*Black students also served longer suspensions on average and were more likely to be suspended for subjective misconduct, like profanity and insubordination.*Suspensions are becoming longer: More than 20 percent of suspensions lasted more than one week in 2008-2009, compared to 14 percent in 1999-2000. The average length of a long-term suspension is five weeks (25 school days).*Between 2001 and 2010, the number of infractions listed in the schools' Discipline Code increased by 49 percent. During that same period, the number of zero tolerance infractions, which mandate a suspension regardless of the individual facts of the incident, increased by 200 percent.*Thirty percent of suspensions occur during March and June of each school year.
Voices from Varick: Detainee Grievances at New York City's Only Federal Immigration Detention FacilityFebruary 23, 2010
Analyzes one year of grievances filed by immigration detainees housed in the Varick Federal Detention Facility. It documents detainee stories of inadequate medical care and mistreatment by the facility's staff. It adds to the growing chorus of voices that have concluded that the federal government has failed in its responsibilities to provide adequate care to detainees housed in immigration facilities.
Protecting Two Generations: The Need to Preserve and Expand Services for New York City's Pregnant and Parenting StudentsDecember 16, 2008
This report focuses on the Living for Young Families through Education (LYFE) program, the New York Department of Education's primary support service for parenting teens. The LYFE program, which operates at about 40 sites citywide, provides school-based child care and extends an array of social services and parenting help to teen parents. If fully supported, it could be a vital service for the thousands of school-age youth who become parents in the city each year. Though the economy is in a down-tum and lawmakers are searching for programs to cut, this much-needed support service must not only be preserved, but expanded. Such services protect two generations at once, and save tax dollars in the long term by promoting educational success and the economic independence that flows from it.
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