senate Bill S6437

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to college admissions for persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses

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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 23, 2014 referred to crime victims, crime and correction

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S6437 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A8574
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Correction Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 23-B §§770 - 776, Cor L; amd §296, Exec L

S6437 - Bill Texts

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Relates to college admissions for persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.

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BILL NUMBER:S6437 REVISED 5/30/14

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law and the executive
law, in relation to college admission for persons previously convicted
of one or more criminal offenses

PURPOSE: The Fair Access to Education Act is intended to enhance
public safety, greater racial fairness, and the economic and social
well-being of all New Yorkers by removing needless barriers to higher
education faced by people with past criminal justice involvement.

The Fair Access to Education Act is named for Vivian Nixon who
experienced the devastating impact of criminal history screening in
college admissions. After serving time in prison, Vivian was
determined to transform her life, and a college education became
central to her goal. The first college to which she applied and for
which she was academically well qualified denied her admission based
upon criminal history screening.

Vivian's college application experience is not unique. A growing
number of colleges and universities are screening applicants and
erecting barriers to admission for people with past criminal justice
involvement despite the fact that there is no evidence that doing so
makes college campuses safer.

There are many negative consequences that flow from this practice.
Access to higher. education is highly correlated to economic stability
and social mobility. It is also linked to reduced recidivism for
people with past criminal justice involvement. Moreover, because of
the well-documented existence of racial disparities in our criminal
justice system, screening applicants for past criminal justice
involvement has a disparate impact on applicants of color. As a
result, screening college applicants for past arrests and convictions
undermines the gains made during the civil rights era to increase
higher education opportunities for all people, regardless of their
race or ethnicity.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The Correction Law would be amended by adding
new provisions that explicitly prohibit colleges from asking about or
considering applicants' past arrests and/or convictions during the
application and admission decision-making process. In addition, a new
subdivision would be added to section 296 of the Executive (Human
Rights) Law to make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for
colleges to ask about or consider prior criminal justice involvement
during the application and admission decision-making process.

This bill would not prevent colleges from asking about or using
information about past criminal justice involvement once an applicant
is admitted to make post admission decisions, such as housing and
support services. In making such decisions, colleges are urged to
consider the reentry benefits of allowing students with past criminal
convictions full access to all aspects of college life, as well as the
disparate impact on students of color that will necessarily follow if
decision-making is based on criminal histories.

Long ago, in the landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education, 347
U.S, 493, the United States Supreme Court recognized the critical role


that education plays in our society and the importance of ensuring
that all people have access to education, stating as follows:
(Education) is required in the performance of our most basic public
responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very
foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in
awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later
professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his
environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may
reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the
opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity where the state has
undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to
all on equal terms.

This legislation will make the aspirations of Brown v. Board of
Education a reality for people with past criminal justice involvement.

Furthermore, it is to the benefit of our great state's economy to have
more of its citizens as gainfully employed tax-payers than either
re-incarcerated, or reliant on public assistance because they are
unable to compete in our demanding economy. By removing barriers to
higher education, those with past criminal justice involvement will be
equipped with the tools necessary to become fully reintegrated into
society, in turn strengthening families and the fabric of New York's
communities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately

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

    S. 6437                                                  A. 8574

                      S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y

                            January 23, 2014
                               ___________

IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sens. MONTGOMERY, HASSELL-THOMPSON, PARKER --
  read  twice  and  ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to
  the Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction

IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. PEOPLES-STOKES --  read  once  and
  referred to the Committee on Correction

AN ACT to amend the correction law and the executive law, in relation to
  college  admission  for  persons  previously  convicted of one or more
  criminal offenses

  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 article 23-B
to read as follows:
                              ARTICLE 23-B
           COLLEGE ADMISSIONS FOR PERSONS PREVIOUSLY CONVICTED
                    OF ONE OR MORE CRIMINAL OFFENSES
SECTION 770. DEFINITIONS.
        771. LEGISLATIVE INTENT.
        772. PROHIBITION AGAINST INQUIRIES ABOUT ARRESTS THAT DID NOT
               RESULT IN A CRIMINAL CONVICTION AND CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS
               THAT HAVE BEEN SEALED.
        773. PRE-ACCEPTANCE PROHIBITION AGAINST INQUIRY INTO CRIMINAL
               HISTORY.
        774. POST-ACCEPTANCE INQUIRY ABOUT CRIMINAL HISTORY PERMITTED.
        775. INQUIRIES INTO CRIMINAL HISTORY NOT REQUIRED.
        776.  ENFORCEMENT.
  S 770. DEFINITIONS. 1. "COLLEGE" SHALL  MEAN  COLLEGES,  UNIVERSITIES,
PROFESSIONAL  AND  TECHNICAL  SCHOOLS  AND  OTHER INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER
EDUCATION AUTHORIZED TO CONFER DEGREES  PURSUANT  TO  SUBDIVISIONS  TWO,
THREE AND EIGHT OF SECTION TWO OF THE EDUCATION LAW.
  2.  "ADMISSIONS  DECISION-MAKING PROCESS" SHALL MEAN SUBMISSION OF THE
APPLICATION AND ALL ASPECTS OF THE APPLICATION  PROCESS  THROUGH  ADMIS-
SION.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13372-02-4

S. 6437                             2                            A. 8574

  3.  "DIRECT RELATIONSHIP" MEANS THAT THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL CONNECTION
BETWEEN THE NATURE OF THE CRIME FOR WHICH THE  ACCEPTED  INDIVIDUAL  WAS
CONVICTED  AND  THE  ACTIVITY OR ASPECT OF CAMPUS LIFE AT ISSUE AND SUCH
CONNECTION WOULD CREATE AN UNREASONABLE RISK TO THE PROPERTY OR  TO  THE
SAFETY  OR  WELFARE  OF SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS OR THE CAMPUS AS A WHOLE IF
THE ACCEPTED STUDENT IS PERMITTED TO PARTICIPATE WITH OR WITHOUT  CONDI-
TIONS.
  S  771. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. COLLEGE EDUCATION PLAYS A CRITICAL ROLE IN
DEVELOPING GOOD CITIZENSHIP, CREATING ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES,
AND ENHANCING PUBLIC SAFETY BY REDUCING THE  RECIDIVISM  OF  INDIVIDUALS
WITH  A  CRIMINAL  HISTORY RECORD. THEREFORE, IT IS THE PUBLIC POLICY OF
THIS STATE TO PROMOTE THE ADMISSION TO COLLEGE OF INDIVIDUALS PREVIOUSLY
CONVICTED OF ONE OR MORE CRIMINAL OFFENSES AND TO ALLOW SUCH INDIVIDUALS
TO FULLY PARTICIPATE IN ALL ASPECTS OF COLLEGE LIFE.
  S 772. PROHIBITION AGAINST INQUIRIES ABOUT ARRESTS THAT DID NOT RESULT
IN A CRIMINAL CONVICTION AND CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN SEALED.
AT NO TIME DURING THE  ADMISSION  DECISION-MAKING  PROCESS  OR  WHILE  A
STUDENT IS ENROLLED SHALL COLLEGES MAKE ANY INQUIRY OR CONSIDER INFORMA-
TION  ABOUT  ANY  ARREST  OR CRIMINAL ACCUSATION OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS
APPLYING FOR ADMISSION OR HAS BEEN  ADMITTED  THAT  WAS  FOLLOWED  BY  A
TERMINATION OF THAT CRIMINAL ACTION OR PROCEEDING IN FAVOR OF SUCH INDI-
VIDUAL  AS  DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF SECTION 160.50 OF THE CRIMINAL
PROCEDURE LAW AND SECTION 375.1 OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT, OR BY A  YOUTH-
FUL  OFFENDER  ADJUDICATION  AS  DEFINED  IN  SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION
720.35 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW, OR BY A JUVENILE DELINQUENCY ADJU-
DICATION AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 380.1  OF  THE  FAMILY
COURT  ACT, OR BY A CONVICTION FOR A VIOLATION SEALED OR SEALABLE PURSU-
ANT TO SECTION 160.55 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW, OR BY A  CONVICTION
WHICH  IS  SEALED  PURSUANT  TO SECTION 160.58 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
LAW.
  S 773. PRE-ACCEPTANCE PROHIBITION AGAINST INQUIRY INTO CRIMINAL HISTO-
RY.  COLLEGES MAY NOT MAKE ANY INQUIRY OR CONSIDER INFORMATION ABOUT  AN
INDIVIDUAL'S  PAST CRIMINAL CONVICTION OR CONVICTIONS AT ANY TIME DURING
THE APPLICATION AND ADMISSIONS DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.
  S 774. POST-ACCEPTANCE INQUIRY ABOUT CRIMINAL  HISTORY  PERMITTED.  1.
AFTER  AN  INDIVIDUAL  HAS BEEN ADMITTED AS A STUDENT, COLLEGES MAY MAKE
INQUIRIES ABOUT AND CONSIDER INFORMATION  ABOUT  THE  INDIVIDUAL'S  PAST
CRIMINAL CONVICTION HISTORY FOR THE PURPOSE OF OFFERING SUPPORTIVE COUN-
SELING AND SERVICES.
  2.  COLLEGES  MAY  ALSO  MAKE INQUIRIES ABOUT AND CONSIDER INFORMATION
ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL'S PAST CRIMINAL CONVICTION HISTORY FOR THE  PURPOSE
OF  MAKING  DECISIONS  ABOUT  PARTICIPATION IN ACTIVITIES AND ASPECTS OF
CAMPUS LIFE ASSOCIATED  WITH  THE  INDIVIDUAL'S  STATUS  AS  A  STUDENT,
INCLUDING  BUT  NOT  LIMITED  TO  HOUSING.  IN MAKING SUCH INQUIRIES AND
CONSIDERING SUCH INFORMATION:
  (A) COLLEGES SHALL NOT USE INFORMATION ABOUT AN ADMITTED  INDIVIDUAL'S
CRIMINAL CONVICTION HISTORY TO RESCIND AN OFFER OF ADMISSION.
  (B)  COLLEGES  SHALL  NOT ESTABLISH OUTRIGHT BARS TO ANY ACTIVITIES OR
PARTICIPATION IN ASPECTS OF CAMPUS LIFE BASED ON  AN  ADMITTED  INDIVID-
UAL'S  CRIMINAL  CONVICTION  HISTORY.  INSTEAD, COLLEGES MUST DEVELOP AN
INDIVIDUALIZED PROCESS FOR DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A  DIRECT
RELATIONSHIP  BETWEEN  THE  ACCEPTED  INDIVIDUAL'S  CRIMINAL  CONVICTION
HISTORY AND THE ACTIVITY OR ASPECT OF CAMPUS LIFE AT ISSUE.  THIS  INDI-
VIDUALIZED PROCESS MUST BE SET FORTH IN WRITING AND MUST INCLUDE CONSID-
ERATION OF:

S. 6437                             3                            A. 8574

  (I)  THE  AGE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AT THE TIME OF THE BEHAVIOR UNDERLYING
THE CRIMINAL CONVICTION OR CONVICTIONS;
  (II) THE TIME THAT HAS ELAPSED SINCE THE BEHAVIOR UNDERLYING THE CRIM-
INAL CONVICTION OR CONVICTIONS;
  (III) THE NATURE OF THE CONVICTION OR CONVICTIONS AND WHETHER IT BEARS
A  DIRECT  RELATIONSHIP  TO  THE ACTIVITY OR PARTICIPATION IN ASPECTS OF
CAMPUS LIFE AT ISSUE; AND
  (IV) ANY EVIDENCE OF REHABILITATION OR GOOD CONDUCT  PRODUCED  BY  THE
ACCEPTED INDIVIDUAL.
  (C) THIS INDIVIDUALIZED PROCESS MUST FURTHER PROVIDE AN ACCEPTED INDI-
VIDUAL  AN  OPPORTUNITY  TO APPEAL ANY DENIAL OR LIMITATION OF ACCESS TO
ANY ACTIVITY OR ASPECT OF CAMPUS LIFE.   COLLEGES  MUST  FURTHER  INFORM
ACCEPTED  INDIVIDUALS  OF THIS PROCESS IN WRITING, INCLUDING THEIR RIGHT
TO PROVIDE EVIDENCE OF REHABILITATION AND GOOD CONDUCT AND  THEIR  RIGHT
TO APPEAL.
  S 775. INQUIRIES INTO CRIMINAL HISTORY NOT REQUIRED. THIS ARTICLE DOES
NOT  REQUIRE COLLEGES TO MAKE INQUIRIES INTO OR CONSIDER AN INDIVIDUAL'S
CRIMINAL CONVICTION HISTORY FOR ANY REASON. IF COLLEGES ELECT TO  DO  SO
FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING IF THERE IS A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
THE  ACCEPTED  INDIVIDUAL'S  CONVICTION OR CONVICTIONS AND ACTIVITIES OR
PARTICIPATION IN ASPECTS OF CAMPUS  LIFE,  COLLEGES  MUST  CONSIDER  THE
STATE'S POLICY TO PROMOTE THE ADMISSION TO COLLEGE OF INDIVIDUALS PREVI-
OUSLY  CONVICTED  OF  ONE OR MORE CRIMINAL OFFENSES AND OF ALLOWING SUCH
INDIVIDUALS FULL ACCESS TO ALL ASPECTS OF COLLEGE LIFE.
  S 776. ENFORCEMENT. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS SECTION  SHALL  BE  AN
UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TWENTY-TWO OF
SECTION TWO HUNDRED NINETY-SIX OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW.
  S  2.  Section  296  of  the  executive law is amended by adding a new
subdivision 22 to read as follows:
  22. IT SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE FOR  ANY  COLLEGE,
AS  DEFINED  IN  SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY OF THE
CORRECTION LAW, TO MAKE ANY INQUIRY INTO OR CONSIDER  INFORMATION  ABOUT
AN INDIVIDUAL'S PAST ARREST OR CONVICTION HISTORY AT ANY TIME DURING THE
APPLICATION  AND  ADMISSIONS  DECISION-MAKING  PROCESS  OR TO RESCIND AN
OFFER OF ADMISSION BASED UPON INFORMATION ABOUT AN  INDIVIDUAL'S  ARREST
OR CONVICTION THAT OCCURRED PRIOR TO ADMISSION.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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