Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Monday that he was ordering an investigation into racial bias in the state prison system after an investigation by The New York Times found that black inmates were punished at significantly higher rates than whites, sent to solitary confinement more often and held there longer.
The investigation analyzed nearly 60,000 disciplinary cases from 2015 and interviewed inmates at prisons around the state who said that guards often used racism to instill subservience.
“I am directing the state inspector general to investigate the allegations of racial disparities in discipline in state prisons and to recommend appropriate reforms for immediate implementation,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement issued on Monday, calling the report “disturbing.”
One of the most striking examples of bias documented was at Clinton Correctional Facility near the Canadian border, the site of a dramatic escape by two white inmates last year. Only one of the 998 guards at the prison is African-American, and black inmates there were nearly four times as likely as whites to be sent to isolation and were held there for an average of 125 days, compared with 90 days for whites, The Times found. (New York Times)