senate Bill S3318

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Provides that persons 19, 20 or 21 years old may be housed with older or younger persons within the correction system

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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
Jan 08, 2014 referred to crime victims, crime and correction
Jan 31, 2013 referred to crime victims, crime and correction

S3318 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Correction Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §500-b, Cor L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S3282
2009-2010: S6033

S3318 - Bill Texts

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Provides that persons 19, 20 or 21 years old may be housed with older or younger persons within the correction system.

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BILL NUMBER:S3318

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law, in relation to the
housing of persons nineteen, twenty and twenty-one years of age within
the correction department

PURPOSE OF BILL: This bill would provide fiscal relief to county
correctional facilities that experience capacity problems by providing
flexibility to jail administrators in housing inmates who are 19, 20
and 21 years of age.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill would amend Correction Law § 500-b(4) to
prohibit local jail administrators from housing persons who are 18
years old and younger with persons who are 22 years old or older, but
would allow them to house persons who are 19, 20 or 21 years old with
either the older or the younger categories of inmates. It also would
make a conforming, technical change to Correction Law § 500-b (13),
which allows the State Commission of Correction (SCOC) to issue
variances to address emergency overcrowding situations in local jails:

Section 2 of the bill contains the effective date.

EXISTING LAW: Correction Law § 500-b(4) prohibits a local jail
administrator from housing persons who are 15, 17, and 18 years old
with persons who are over 18 years old. Correction Law § 500-b(13)
creates an exception to this prohibition, by allowing SCOC to issue a
variance to allow commingling for short periods of time to address an
emergency overcrowding condition, but only when such commingling does
not present a danger to the health, safety or welfare of any inmate.

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT: Safety and welfare of inmates, and the overall
safety, security and good order of the facility are essential to the
proper administration of any correctional facility. Age classification
rules that prevent the commingling of certain categories of inmates
can play a significant role in furthering these goals. These rules
can, however, also lead to unnecessary overcrowding in some sections
of a facility, and can create fiscal burdens on counties that are
required to board inmates at facilities in other counties, when they
have available capacity in another section of their own facility but
are barred from using that capacity because of age classification
restrictions. This bill would amend certain age classification rules
applicable to county correctional facilities in a manner that is
consistent with the safety and welfare of inmates, but will give jail
administrators greater flexibility and relieve fiscal burdens on
county governments.

A number of county jails outside of New York City are operating in
excess of their overall capacity yet have vacant beds due to
statutorily defined classification standards that separate inmates in
a manner that is not consistent with operational or safety oriented
protocols, SCOC reports that there is typically capacity available in
a unit used for housing persons who are 16, 17, and 18 years old, but
that, under existing law, persons 19 years old and older cannot be
placed in those beds -even if the "adult" section of the facility is


overcrowded. Under this bill, a jail administrator could not place any
adult of any age in the unit with those younger persons, but he or she
could place persons who are only slightly older - those who are 19, 20
and 21 years old - in that unit. In many instances, this flexibility
will provide the needed "safety valve" that would relieve the need
either to board out inmates or build more jail capacity in the county.

For over twenty years SCOC has had the authority to grant temporary
waivers of the age classification restrictions in emergency
overcrowding situations. It is not aware of any problems or safety
concerns that have occurred in instances when younger and older
inmates have been commingled pursuant to a waiver of the age
classification standards.

Because they are only available on a temporary, short-term basis,
however, these emergency waivers are not a viable solution in counties
that face chronic overcrowding. Instead, these counties are left with
essentially two options.

One option is for the county to board out inmates who would be housed
in overcrowded areas of a facility to another county and pay that
recipient county over $100 per day per inmate. Based on local jail
capacity data compiled by SCOC, an average of approximately 300
inmates are boarded out to other counties on any given day. Boarding
out an average of 25 inmates can have an annual cost of approximately
$1 million for a county, and several counties outside of New York City
regularly board out more than 25 inmates. This places a significant
fiscal burden on those counties that are routinely required to board
out inmates.

The other option is for the county to build a new or larger facility
that would allow it both to accommodate all inmates in that county and
to follow the existing classification statutory limitations. But the
costs of constructing a new facility can be prohibitive, averaging
between $75,000 and $90,000 per bed.

These fiscal burdens, though painful for a county, could perhaps be
justified if there truly were no available capacity in a county
facility. The reality, however, is that there is often unused space in
one portion of a facility, even while another section is overcrowded.

SCOC has convened an informal working group of several county jail
administrators, the Sheriffs Association, the New York State
Association of Counties and the Division of the Budget, which is
exploring remedies for the fiscal challenges that strain the
operational needs of county jails. This working group has endorsed
this proposal as one that is operationally effective and fiscally
responsible, while not causing any impact on the safety of inmates
confined in local correctional facilities or to overall public safety.

BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: This bill would not have any direct state fiscal
impact. However, it would allow county governments to avoid
operational and capital construction costs associated with
overcrowding at certain county correctional facilities. Additionally,
this bill would provide county governments with immediate fiscal
relief in a manner that preserves public safety at a time when all


levels of New York government are making touch choices to reduce
spending and operate within limited available resources.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10: S.6033 - Referred to Crime Victims,
Crime & Correction, Governor Program Bill No. 54

EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill would take effect immediately, with
provisions.

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

                                  3318

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 31, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. HASSELL-THOMPSON -- 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 the housing of
  persons nineteen, twenty  and  twenty-one  years  of  age  within  the
  correction department

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

  Section 1. Subdivisions 4 and 13 of section 500-b  of  the  correction
law,  subdivision  4  as  added  by  chapter 907 of the laws of 1984 and
subdivision 13 as amended by chapter  574  of  the  laws  of  1985,  are
amended to read as follows:
  4.  (A)  No person under nineteen years of age shall be placed or kept
or allowed to be at any time with any prisoner or  prisoners  [nineteen]
TWENTY-TWO  years  of age or older, in any room, dormitory, cell or tier
of the buildings  of  such  institution  unless  separately  grouped  to
prevent  access  to  persons  under  nineteen  years of age by prisoners
[nineteen] TWENTY-TWO years of age or older.
  (B) PERSONS NINETEEN, TWENTY OR TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE  MAY,  AT  THE
DISCRETION OF THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, BE PLACED OR KEPT EITHER
WITH  PERSONS  UNDER  NINETEEN  YEARS  OF AGE OR WITH PERSONS TWENTY-TWO
YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT IN MAKING THE  DECISION  ON
WHERE TO HOUSE SUCH NINETEEN, TWENTY OR TWENTY-ONE YEAR OLD PERSONS, THE
CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER SHALL CONSIDER ALL OF THE FACTORS SET FORTH
IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF SUBDIVISION SEVEN OF THIS SECTION.
  13.  Where in the opinion of the chief administrative officer an emer-
gency overcrowding condition exists in  a  local  correctional  facility
caused  in  part  by the [prohibition against the commingling of persons
under nineteen years of age with persons nineteen years of age or  older
or  the  commingling  of  persons  nineteen  years  of age or older with
persons under nineteen years of age] RESTRICTIONS  UPON  COMMINGLING  OF

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD06424-01-3

S. 3318                             2

CATEGORIES OF PERSONS SET FORTH IN SUBDIVISION FOUR OF THIS SECTION, the
chief  administrative officer may apply to the commission for permission
to commingle the aforementioned categories of inmates for a  period  not
to  exceed thirty days as provided herein. The commission shall acknowl-
edge to the chief administrative officer the receipt of such application
upon its receipt.  The chief administrative officer shall  be  permitted
to commingle such inmates upon acknowledgment of receipt of the applica-
tion  by  the  commission.  The  commission shall assess the application
within seven days of receipt. The commission shall deny any such  appli-
cation  and  shall  prohibit  the  continued commingling of such inmates
where it has found that the local correctional facility  does  not  meet
the criteria set forth in this subdivision and further is in substantial
noncompliance  with minimum staffing requirements as provided in commis-
sion rules and regulations. In addition, the commission shall  determine
whether the commingling of such inmates presents a danger to the health,
safety or welfare of any such inmate. If no such danger exists the chief
administrative officer may continue the commingling until the expiration
of  the aforementioned thirty day period or until such time as he deter-
mines that the overcrowding which necessitated the commingling no longer
exists, whichever occurs first. In the event the  commission  determines
that  such danger exists, it shall immediately notify the chief adminis-
trative officer, and the commingling of such inmates shall  cease.  Such
notification  shall include specific measures which should be undertaken
by the chief administrative officer, to correct such dangers. The  chief
administrative  officer  may  correct  such  dangers  and reapply to the
commission for permission to commingle; however, no commingling may take
place until such time as the commission certifies that the  facility  is
now  in compliance with the measures set forth in the notification under
this subdivision. When such certification has been received by the chief
administrative officer, the commingling may continue  for  thirty  days,
less  any  time during which the chief administrative officer commingled
such inmates following his application to the commission, or until  such
time  as  he  determines  that  the  overcrowding which necessitated the
commingling no longer exists, whichever occurs first. The chief adminis-
trative officer may apply for permission to commingle such  inmates  for
up  to  two  additional  thirty  day  periods,  in  conformity  with the
provisions and the requirements of this subdivision, in a given calendar
year. For the period ending December thirtieth, nineteen hundred  eight-
y-four,  a  locality  may not apply for more than one thirty day commin-
gling period.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately; provided that the  amend-
ments to section 500-b of the correction law made by section one of this
act  shall  not affect the repeal of such section and shall be deemed to
be repealed therewith.

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