December 13, 2017

Professor Alexander Reinert, who is one of the attorneys representing a group of plaintiffs who filed a class action lawsuit against New York City, won a victory in the lawsuit this week. A federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn ruled that New York City will pay a total of $5 million to the plaintiffs: 470 people who were put in solitary confinement, between Nov. 23, 2012, and Sept. 16, 2015. A policy that used to be in place at Rikers Island mandated that if those people who had been serving a stretch in solitary confinement before release were returned to the jail, the person would be forced back into solitary no matter how much time had passed.

The lawsuit that prompted the settlement, Roy Parker et al. v. the City of New York, deemed that the practice was inhumane and violated pretrial detainees’ due process rights.

Reinert said in The New York Times that he believes this was the first case in the country in which a court awarded compensation to a class of pretrial detainees wrongfully held in solitary confinement. The number of people covered by the class action was limited by a three-year statute of limitations, he said.

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