Religious leaders from across the state joined together Thursday on Interfaith Advocacy Day to call on state lawmakers to pass a solitary confinement reform bill.
the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement, or H.A.L.T. Act is a bill designed to limit confinement in jails and prisons to 15 days. Proponents of the bill say solitary confinement can cause long-term physical and mental effects on a human.
Buffalo’s Elim Christian Fellowship Bishop T. Anthony Bronner said it is time for the faith community to put their support behind this measure.
“There is nothing that makes that justifiable,” he said of the continued use of solitary confinement. “It is immoral and it is not right. And so we don’t want to just be in our pulpits gazing into heaven and leading people to heaven and not understanding our responsibilities.”
H.A.L.T. also call for the complete elimination of solitary for vulnerable populations including people with physical and mental disabilities.
Baptist Minister and Founder of the National Action Network, Reverend Al Sharpton said there is a moral obligation to raise awareness to the inhumanity of solitary confinement.
“So this Interfaith Advocacy Day is important to raise the moral outrage,” he said. “As people also justifiably raised the legal questions, and the questions that should litigated that would really limit where we would have solitary confinement. I think it’s used far too much in the criminal justice system.”
Aside from the moral and legal arguments, a November 2020 report from local think-tank Partnership for Public Good estimates the state will save $132 million annually from the implementation of the HALT Act. Read the full report here.