“Mental Health Units” in Prison Are Solitary by Another Name, Activists Say

Christian Hill has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder. In the New York State prison system, this classifies him as having a serious mental illness and confers a “1-S” designation upon him. Under the newly implemented HALT Solitary Confinement Act, people with this mental health designation cannot be punished by being placed in the Special Housing Unit, or SHU, where they would spend at least 17 days alone in their cells. Instead, Hill and others with this designation must be sent to a Residential Mental Health Unit, a prison unit for incarcerated people with serious mental…