NYC jail watchdog board votes for restrictive Rikers Island housing units, solitary reforms

The agency charged with overseeing New York City jails has voted to create restrictive Rikers Island housing units for violent inmates and limit the use of solitary confinement.

The change bans the use of solitary confinement for inmates younger than 21 by 2016.

The Board of Correction unanimously approved the plans Tuesday.

Corrections officials urged the board to approve 250 beds of "enhanced supervision housing" for the small number of inmates responsible for a disproportionate amount of jail stabbings and slashings.

Inmate advocates and others say the $14.8 million initiative is unduly harsh, will deprive inmates of their rights and could fuel further violence.