senate Bill S6855

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Establishes a pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Mar 29, 2012 referred to crime victims, crime and correction

Co-Sponsors

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S6855 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A9475
Current Committee:
Senate Crime Victims, Crime And Correction
Law Section:
Correction Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง72-c, Cor L

S6855 - Bill Texts

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Establishes a pilot project for placement of inmates close to home; provides that such project would house inmates who are parents of minor children in the correctional facility located in closest proximity to the primary place of residence of any such inmate's minor child or children.

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BILL NUMBER:S6855

TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the correction law, in relation to establishing the
pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home; and providing
for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof

PURPOSE:
To conduct a pilot program placing certain inmates in facilities closer
to the communities where their children reside

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill is the legislative intent.

Section two of the bill is the name of this act which shall be the
"pilot Project for Placement of Inmates Close to Home".

Section three of this bill establishes the pilot program in a facility
of the Department of Corrections' choosing which will house inmate
volunteers whose minor children reside close to the facility in order to
facilitate visitation between the inmate parent and his or her child.
The Office of Children and Family Services and/or the local district
social services offices will be consulted as to the appropriateness of
visitation before any inmate is admitted to the program. Further, an
independent, academic analysis is required to determine the effective-
ness of this pilot and make recommendations, if any, for expansion and
improvement.

Section four is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:
Approximately 59% of all New York state prison and jail inmates are
parents. For women under custody in New York the number is closer to
71%. More than 80,000 minor children in New York State have a parent
incarcerated in a state prison. Transportation provides a major barrier
to visitation.

Inmates are often placed in prisons far from their children and far from
home. Male inmates at Lakeview Correctional Facility who come from New
York City are more than 400 miles from home, while female inmates at
Albion are around 375 miles from New York City. Distances are large and
public transportation is difficult, especially with the termination of
the longstanding DOCS free bus program that provided visitors with
transportation to remote prisons from sites around the state.

For children in foster care, distance is the number one barrier to
legally mandated visits with their incarcerated parents. Social service
agencies are required to maintain contact with incarcerated parents
(except in cases where a court has ruled otherwise) including bringing
children for visits with parents in prison. When the goal is reunifica-
tion the requirement to provide visits extends to the tri-state area.

Non-compliance is routine in large part because of the distance. Given
the caseloads and demands on child welfare workers, it is difficult to
take a whole day or two for one parent-child visit. As a result, chil-
dren in foster care with incarcerated parents suffer greatly from lack
of parental contact. Without visits, an incarcerated parent is at great
risk for termination of his or her parental rights, the permanent legal
severing of the parent-child relationship.

Recent studies have emphasized the importance of visits and family ties
in the prevention of recidivism. One study found that every visit a
prisoner received measurably and increasingly lowered the likelihood of
recidivism. Visits by relatives, including children, seem to matter most
when it comes to reducing recidivism, creating a significant public
safety benefit to supporting the maintenance of parent-child and other
ties during incarceration.

Children who have parents in prison are significantly affected by the
frequency and quality of contact with their parents. While there are
instances when visits are not in children's best interest, for most
children visits are beneficial to their psychological and emotional
well-being, their physical health and development, and can help smooth
the reentry process and family reunification. Children of incarcerated
parents are recognized as an at-risk population and parental incarcera-
tion is now included as an ACE factor, as "Adverse Childhood Experi-
ence," that can negatively affect children's development. The risks for
children associated with having an incarcerated parent can be signif-
icantly mitigated by the continuing presence of the parent in the
child's life, through visitation, telephone contact, and letters. The
number one way to promote visiting is by reducing the distances between
the incarcerated parent and their children.

While the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision normally
places inmates in prisons based on classification by security level and
programmatic needs, this pilot program will explore the use of a third
criterion, proximity to an inmate's minor children. The purpose of this
act is to establish a pilot program to assess the effects of housing
inmates who are parents of minor children close to home in order to
facilitate visitation between such parents and their children. The
department will select 60 inmate volunteers to be housed in a facility
closest to the communities where their children reside where such facil-
ity is an otherwise appropriate placement for them.

The department will be required to report to the legislature and the
governor on the effectiveness of the pilot program and make recommenda-
tions for expansion to other correctional facilities in order to place
more inmates close to their families and minor children. Should the
pilot program prove beneficial, the expectation is that the program will
be broadened to allow more inmates to be housed in close proximity to
their home communities, thus facilitating visitation and contacts with
their children and other family members.

This bill also calls for an independent, academic analysis of the effect
of the pilot program prepared in consultation with the department. Such
analysis will report on the impact, if any, the placement of such
inmates closest to the communities where their children reside has had
on the inmates themselves, the safety and security of the facility, the
foster care case and local social service agency, if applicable, and,
where possible, on the family members and children involved as well as
any other effect of the program that can be measured. The report shall
include recommendations as to the future of the program and what modifi-
cations would be recommended in order to improve implementation and
outcomes.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect six months after it shall have become law.

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

                                  6855

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             March 29, 2012
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  RIVERA -- 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 establishing the
  pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home; and  provid-
  ing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof

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

  Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may  be  cited  as
the "pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home".
  S  2.  Legislative  intent.  The legislature hereby finds and declares
that research shows inmates who maintain family ties  during  incarcera-
tion  have  lower  rates of recidivism than inmates who do not. Further,
most inmates are parents, and more than 80,000 children in the state  of
New York have a parent incarcerated in the state prison system.
  The  legislature  further finds that the department of corrections and
community supervision should consider proximity to minor children  among
the key criteria of security and health and program needs when determin-
ing  prison  assignments  and  transfers  of parents, and should support
increased access of children to their incarcerated parents  through  the
use  of  technology  and programs currently available within the depart-
ment.
  The legislature therefore declares that there is  a  need  to  develop
classification  criteria  that would place inmates in proximity to their
family members and home communities, and in particular for those inmates
who are parents of minor children in the appropriate correctional facil-
ity located closest to those children provided such placement is  other-
wise  appropriate  and  suitable, and would facilitate increased contact
between such inmate and his or her child or children.
  S 3. The correction law is amended by adding a  new  section  72-c  to
read as follows:
  S  72-C.  PILOT PROJECT FOR THE PLACEMENT OF INMATES CLOSE TO HOME. 1.
THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH A PILOT PROGRAM AT A DESIGNATED CORREC-
TIONAL FACILITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF HOUSING INMATES WHO  ARE  PARENTS  OF

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD14694-01-2

S. 6855                             2

MINOR  CHILDREN IN THE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY WHICH IS LOCATED IN CLOSEST
PROXIMITY TO THE PRIMARY PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF ANY SUCH  INMATE'S  MINOR
CHILD OR CHILDREN UNDER EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, PROVIDED THAT SUCH PLACE-
MENT  IS  OTHERWISE SUITABLE AND APPROPRIATE PURSUANT TO THE REGULATIONS
OF THE DEPARTMENT AND WOULD FACILITATE INCREASED  CONTACT  BETWEEN  SUCH
INMATE  AND  HIS  OR  HER  CHILD OR CHILDREN. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS PILOT
PROGRAM, THERE SHALL BE AT LEAST SIXTY INMATES WHO ON A VOLUNTARY  BASIS
REQUEST  PLACEMENT  IN  THE  PILOT  PROGRAM AND WHO ARE PARENTS OF MINOR
CHILDREN. IN SELECTING SUCH INMATES THE DEPARTMENT  SHALL  CONSULT  WITH
THE  OFFICE  OF  CHILDREN  AND FAMILY SERVICES AND THE LOCAL DISTRICT OF
SOCIAL SERVICES LOCATED IN THE COUNTY WHERE SUCH INMATE'S CHILD RESIDES.
  2. THE COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE JOHN JAY COLLEGE  INSTI-
TUTE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE ETHICS OR OTHER SUCH CRIMINAL JUSTICE DIVISION
AS  THE  ADMINISTRATION  OF  JOHN  JAY COLLEGE MAY PROVIDE, SHALL SUBMIT
BEGINNING ON THE FIRST OF JANUARY IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN  AND
EVERY  JANUARY THEREAFTER A REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESI-
DENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY ON THE  EFFECTIVENESS
OF THIS PILOT PROJECT AND SHALL INCLUDE AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT ON THE
INMATE,  HIS  OR  HER  CHILDREN,  AND FAMILY PARTICIPANTS INCLUDING SUCH
IMPACT ON INSTITUTIONAL SAFETY AND PERFORMANCE AND  ANY  RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR ADDITIONAL LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENTS THAT MAY BE NEEDED OR REQUIRED, TO
IMPROVE,  ENHANCE  AND  SUBSEQUENTLY EXPAND THE PROGRAM TO OTHER CORREC-
TIONAL FACILITIES AS DETERMINED TO BE APPROPRIATE BY THE COMMISSIONER.
  3. NO PERSON SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEMAND OR  REQUIRE  PARTICIPATION
IN  THE  PILOT  PROJECT AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION. THE COMMISSIONER MAY
REVOKE AT ANY TIME PARTICIPATION IN SUCH PROJECT FOR ANY SERIOUS  DISCI-
PLINARY INFRACTION COMMITTED BY THE INMATE OR FOR ANY FAILURE TO CONTIN-
UE  TO  PARTICIPATE  SUCCESSFULLY  IN  ANY  ASSIGNED  WORK AND TREATMENT
PROGRAM AFTER PLACEMENT IN SUCH PILOT PROGRAM. ANY ACTION BY THE COMMIS-
SIONER PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED A JUDICIAL FUNCTION  AND
SHALL NOT BE REVIEWABLE IF DONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW.
  S  4. This act shall take effect six months after it shall have become
a law and shall expire September 1, 2015 when upon such date  provisions
of  this act shall be deemed repealed.  Effective immediately, the addi-
tion, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or  regulation  necessary  for
the implementation of this act on its effective date is authorized to be
made on or before such date.

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