senate Bill S5906

Relates to the segregated confinement of inmates with serious mental illness

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 05 / Oct / 2011
    • REFERRED TO RULES
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION
  • 21 / Feb / 2012
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 07 / Mar / 2012
    • DEFEATED IN CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION

Summary

Relates to the segregated confinement of inmates with serious mental illness.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S5906
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Crime Victims, Crime And Correction
Law Section:
Correction Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยงยง137 & 500-k, Cor L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5906

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the correction law, in relation to limiting the segregated
confinement of persons in a correctional facility with serious mental
illness

PURPOSE:
To ensure that inmates are not placed in segregated confinement -- a
Special Housing Unit (SHU) -- unless they have engaged in highly
dangerous, violent or serious escape-related behavior while
incarcerated in that facility.

To limit the amount of time that an inmate may spend in a SHU to 90
days, except for an inmate whose behavior exposes a pattern of
extreme violence or danger to himself or others.

To establish an independent review board, to be known as the "inmate's
special housing unit review council," to determine after 90 days
whether continued confinement in an SHU is warranted and necessary.
The council will be composed of seven members appointed by the
governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. One member shall
be an attorney, one member shall be a mental health professional, one
member shall be a criminal justice expert appointed from within
employees of the state university system, and one member shall be a
former inmate.

To ensure that inmates suffering from a mental illness shall not be
unnecessarily confined in a SHU whether such mental illness preceded
such confinement or developed during the course of such confinement.
Requires inmate's removal from segregated confinement except in
exceptional circumstances as defined in correction law section 137
(d)(ii)(E).

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Paragraphs (c), (d), (e) and (f) of subdivision 6 of section 137 of
the correction law are relettered paragraphs (e), (f), (g) and (h)
and two new paragraphs (c) and (d) are added and subparagraph (i) of
paragraph (f), as amended by Chapter 1 of the laws of 2008 and as
relettered, is amended.

EXISTING LAW:
No provision of the correction law applies to this issue.

JUSTIFICATION:
In New York nearly 4,300 (as of September 2011) prisoners are confined
to 23 hour disciplinary lockdown in SHU. This amounts to roughly eight
percent of the State's more than 56,000 inmates, a reliance on SHU
that is four times the national average of about two percent.

Prisoners who act out or cannot comply with rules in the general
prison population likely suffer from mild forms of mental illness to
begin with. As of August 2011, approximately 14.5 percent of the
State's inmate population has some form of mental illness, of which
the Office of Mental Health designated 2,562 as seriously mentally


ill. The majority of these inmates with serious mental illness were
previously residing in general population.

The psychiatric problems of inmates deepen and become profoundly
dangerous during long months, even years, in the isolation of SHU.
Prisoners confined to 23-hour lockdown in SHU exhibit symptoms of
mental illness, including depression, increased paranoia, agitation,
manic activity, delusions, florid psychotic illness and suicide. Of
the total number of inmates designated as seriously mentally ill, 278
of the total number of inmates designated as seriously mentally ill
had a confinement sanction (either SHU or Keeplock) over 30 days. Of
this number, 272 were in a Residential Mental Health Treatment Unit
(RMHTU), not a segregated confinement unit. It is vital that we
continue to ensure mentally ill inmates receive treatment rather than
disciplinary punishment.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2001-2002: S.1634 Died in Committee
2003-2004: S.2272 Died in Committee
2005-2006: S.1498 Died in Committee
2007-2008: S.2013 Died in Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have
become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  5906

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             October 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  MONTGOMERY  -- read twice and ordered printed, and
  when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules

AN ACT to amend the correction law, in relation to limiting  the  segre-
  gated  confinement  of persons in a correctional facility with serious
  mental illness

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Paragraphs  (c),  (d),  (e)  and  (f) of subdivision 6 of
section 137 of the correction law are relettered  paragraphs  (e),  (f),
(g)  and  (h)  and two new paragraphs (c) and (d) are added and subpara-
graph (i) of paragraph (f), as amended by chapter 1 of the laws of  2008
and as relettered by this section, is amended to read as follows:
  (C)  INMATES  SHALL  NOT  BE  IN  SEGREGATED CONFINEMENT FOR REASON OF
DISCIPLINE, DETENTION, ADMINISTRATIVE SEGREGATION,  PROTECTIVE  CUSTODY,
KEEPLOCK, OR ANY OTHER REASON FOR ADMISSION, UNLESS THEY HAVE ENGAGED IN
HIGHLY  DANGEROUS,  VIOLENT  OR  SERIOUS  ESCAPE-RELATED  BEHAVIOR WHILE
INCARCERATED IN THAT FACILITY;
  (D) CONFINEMENT IN SEGREGATED CONFINEMENT SHALL BE LIMITED TO NOT MORE
THAN NINETY DAYS, EXCEPT FOR AN INMATE WHOSE BEHAVIOR EXPOSES A  PATTERN
OF  EXTREME  VIOLENCE  OR DANGER TO HIMSELF OR OTHERS AND, PROVIDED THAT
FOR THOSE CONFINED LONGER THAN NINETY DAYS,  THERE  SHALL  BE  A  REVIEW
EVERY  NINETY  DAYS  BY  AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW BOARD, TO BE KNOWN AS THE
INMATE'S SPECIAL  HOUSING  UNIT  REVIEW  COUNCIL  TO  DETERMINE  WHETHER
CONTINUED  SEGREGATED CONFINEMENT IS WARRANTED AND NECESSARY. SUCH COUN-
CIL SHALL BE COMPOSED OF SEVEN MEMBERS APPOINTED BY  THE  GOVERNOR  WITH
THE  ADVICE  AND  CONSENT OF THE SENATE. ONE MEMBER SHALL BE AN ATTORNEY
ADMITTED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THIS STATE, ONE MEMBER  SHALL  BE  A  MENTAL
HEALTH  PROFESSIONAL,  ONE  MEMBER  SHALL  BE  A CRIMINAL JUSTICE EXPERT
APPOINTED FROM WITHIN EMPLOYEES OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM, AND  ONE
MEMBER SHALL BE A FORMER INMATE;

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13525-01-1

S. 5906                             2

  (i)  Except  as  set  forth in clause (E) of subparagraph (ii) of this
paragraph, the department, in consultation  with  mental  health  clini-
cians,  shall  divert  TO A RESIDENTIAL MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT UNIT, or
SHALL  remove  inmates  with  serious  mental  illness  FROM  SEGREGATED
CONFINEMENT,  WHETHER  SUCH  SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS, as defined in para-
graph [(e)] (G) of this subdivision, [from segregated confinement, where
such confinement could potentially be for a period in excess  of  thirty
days,  to  a  residential  mental  health  treatment unit] PRECEDED SUCH
CONFINEMENT OR DEVELOPED DURING THE COURSE OF SUCH CONFINEMENT.  Nothing
in this paragraph shall be deemed to prevent  the  disciplinary  process
from  proceeding in accordance with department rules and regulations for
disciplinary hearings.
  S 2. Section 500-k of the correction law, as amended by chapter  2  of
the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows:
  S  500-k.  Treatment  of inmates. Subdivisions five and six of section
one hundred thirty-seven of this chapter, except  paragraphs  [(d)]  (F)
and [(e)] (G) of subdivision six of such section, relating to the treat-
ment  of  inmates  in  state  correctional  facilities are applicable to
inmates confined in county jails; except that  the  report  required  by
paragraph  [(f)] (H) of subdivision six of such section shall be made to
a person designated to receive such report in the rules and  regulations
of  the  state  commission of correction, or in any county or city where
there is a department of [correction] CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, to the head
of such department.
  S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition,  amend-
ment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implemen-
tation  of this act on its effective date is authorized to be made on or
before such date.

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