senate Bill S977

Increases access to substance abuse programming for prisoners whose first language is not English

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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 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION
  • 12 / Mar / 2012
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 12 / Mar / 2012
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES

Summary

Increases access to substance abuse programming for prisoners whose first language is not English.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A1021
Versions:
S977
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Correction Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง624, Cor L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Cycle:
S4367, A7158

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S977 REVISED 01/10/2011

TITLE OF BILL:

An act
to amend the correction law, in relation to increasing
access to substance
abuse programming for prisoners whose first language is not English

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

This bill would require the commissioner of corrections, in
consultation with the commissioner on Alcohol and substance Abuse
Services, to take steps to ensure that prisoners whose first language
is not English are able to access prison substance abuse programs.
The bill addresses the difficulty currently experienced by
significant numbers of inmates in understanding, participating and
completing prison substance abuse programs.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

The bill amends Article 22 of the correction Law by adding subsection
624 requiring the commissioner of corrections, in consultation with
the commissioner on Alcohol and Substance Abuse services, to take
steps to ensure that prisoners whose first language is not English
are able to access prison substance abuse programs. Such steps may
include, but need not be limited to, increased employment of
bilingual substance abuse counselors and program staff, translation
of program content and materials, targeted programs for non-English
speaking prisoners, and other strategies determined by the
commissioner in consultation with the commissioner of alcohol and
substance abuse services.

JUSTIFICATION:

Ten percent of the state prison population, more than 6,000 inmates,
were born outside of the united states. Only twenty-eight (28)
percent of those prisoners come from countries where the dominant
language is English, fifty-four (54) percent come from countries
where the dominant language is Spanish, and eighteen (19) percent are
from countries that speak primarily Asian, European or other
languages. Twenty-five (25) percent of the state prison population,
more than 16,000 inmates, are of Hispanic origin. Hispanic inmates
are housed throughout the system, but the highest concentrations of
Hispanic inmates are housed in the Sullivan hub (33 percent) and New
York city hub (31 percent.)

The department of correctional services has recognized that it is
necessary to expand its capacity to address the needs of prisoners
who may have difficulty speaking and understanding program content
presented only in English. Substance abuse programs are of critical

importance to the prisoner and to the community, as research
consistently shows that prison treatment programs reduce recidivism
and lower health care and social service costs upon re-entry to
society. Studies also show that prison treatment programs have a
significantly positive impact on inmate behavior, making our prisons
safer and more secure.

The Department of Correctional Services operates a variety of
substance abuse programs at an approximate cost of20 million dollars
annually. Yet non-English speaking prisoners have difficulty
understanding, participating and completing these programs. Program
content and materials are presented in English; few substance abuse
counselors or program staff are bilingual. This bill would require
the Commissioner to take steps to address this problem, without
imposing specific methods or timeliness, thus preserving the
flexibility of the department to proceed incrementally and to develop
strategies that reflect both security and budgetary limitations. The
bill calls for the Commissioner of Corrections to consult with the
Commissioner on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services in order to
ensure that strategies developed are evidence-based, effective and
professionally implemented.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009-2010 - S.4367/A.7158(Ortiz) - reported and committed to finance

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                   977

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  HASSELL-THOMPSON, DIAZ, OPPENHEIMER -- read twice
  and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee
  on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction

AN ACT to amend the correction law, in relation to increasing access  to
  substance  abuse programming for prisoners whose first language is not
  English

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

  Section  1.  The correction law is amended by adding a new section 624
to read as follows:
  S 624. ACCESS TO SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMMING  FOR  CERTAIN  PRISONERS.
THE  COMMISSIONER  SHALL TAKE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT PRISONERS WHOSE FIRST
LANGUAGE IS NOT ENGLISH ARE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND, PARTICIPATE AND COMPLETE
SUBSTANCE ABUSE  PROGRAMS  PROVIDED  IN  THE  PRISONS.  SUCH  STEPS  MAY
INCLUDE,  BUT  NEED NOT BE LIMITED TO, INCREASED EMPLOYMENT OF BILINGUAL
SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELORS AND PROGRAM  STAFF,  TRANSLATION  OF  PROGRAM
CONTENT  AND MATERIALS, TARGETED PROGRAMS FOR NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING PRIS-
ONERS AND OTHER STRATEGIES DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSIONER  IN  CONSULTA-
TION WITH THE COMMISSIONER OF ALCOHOLISM AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.




 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD04526-01-1

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