By the end of the year, prisoners under the age of 18 will no longer be sent to solitary confinement. According to the Times, a memo from Correction Department Commissioner Joseph Ponte to Mayor de Blasio states that solitary confinement will be replaced by "alternative options, intermediate consequences for misbehavior and steps designed to pre-empt incidents from occurring."

The memo does not give specifics about these alternative options.

Popularly known as "the bing," people sent to solitary confinement spend 23 to 24 hours a day inside a small cell with only a mattress and a toilet-sink combination.

Johnny Perez was sixteen when he was sent to Rikers Island. There, he got into a fight over using a phone controlled by a gang. For that, Perez spent two months in the bing.

"I remember crying a lot," he recalled. "I felt isolated. My only contact was with the officers or inmates who brought the food." He spent two months in solitary, which he described as dehumanizing. "It affected my self-esteem, it affected my emotions," he explained." I was sixteen and I couldn't identify these emotions a lot of times."

In New York, sixteen and seventeen-year-olds who are arrested are automatically charged as adults. Those who cannot afford bail, like Perez, are sent to Rikers Island while awaiting dispensation of their charges. There, they are separated from the adult population. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-old girls are sent to a separate unit at Rose M. Singer, the women's building. The boys are sent to the Robert N Davoren Complex (RNDC). RNDC has recently been condemned by the Department of Justice for its "deep-seated culture of violence" and for its excessive use of solitary confinement.

In July, the State Advisory Board of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing on the use of solitary confinement for juveniles to determine whether it violated the rights of youth of color and mentally ill youth. According to the Department, there are currently 51 adolescents in solitary.

Johnny Perez, now an adult working as the safe reentry coordinator for the Urban Justice Center, hails this as a positive first step. "There's still work to do," he added, "especially since we know that the brain is not developed until the age of 25. Ultimately we need to expand the conversation to include kids up to 25-year-olds and exclude all 16- to 25-year-olds from solitary confinement altogether." Based on his own experiences with the culture of violence on the island, Perez also advocates for removing all 16- to 21-year-olds from Rikers altogether.

Ron Schneider runs the adolescent and teen program at the Brooklyn Defender Services and works with boys who have spent time in the bing. He too views eliminating adolescent solitary as a positive first step. But he also notes that, while solitary is utilized less often, he's heard of an increase of violence from the officers. "I've heard of more instances of kids being shoved against a gate or being slapped across the face," he said.

Like Perez, Schneider also advocates removing teenagers from Rikers. "They need to be taken off the island. The majority of kids are there because their parents can't afford to pay their bail of five thousand or less. If they do have to detain them, they should be treated as juveniles like they are in the 48 other states."

Victoria Law is a freelance writer and editor. She frequently writes about incarceration, gender and resistance and is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women. Follow her on Twitter at @LVikkiml