Senate Approves Nozzolio Bill To Establish Residential Treatment Programs Of Convicted Persons With Mental Illness

Michael F. Nozzolio

June 11, 2007

Albany –New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio, Chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, today announced that the Senate has adopted legislation (S.333A) he is sponsoring to establish residential treatment programs that provide for the treatment and confinement of inmates with serious mental illness.

"As one who has led the fight to improve the safety and security of our correctional facilities and enhance support and benefits for our correction officers and staff, I remain committed to doing all that I can to ensure that New York State continues to promote and advance initiatives such as these which make our correctional facilities more safe for both the inmates and the brave men and women who work there," Senator Nozzolio said.

Nozzolio's legislation would provide residential mental health treatment programs for the purpose of providing treatment and rehabilitation for inmates in a manner that is consistent with both the mental health treatment needs of such inmates and the safety and security of the facility. In addition, the legislation would provide for the assessment of inmates subjected to confinement for a period in excess of twenty-four hours and establish the New York State Commission on Quality Care for the mentally disabled.

The incidence of serious mental illness among inmates within the state prison system has increased significantly in recent years. Currently, approximately 12 percent of the prison population, (approximately 8,000 inmates) is affected by serious mental illness. In addition, studies have shown that solitary confinement is not effective in dealing with the inmates in this population.

The measure has been sent to the Assembly for approval.