Senate passes Montgomery’s bill to localize incarceration for families

Originally published in The Brooklyn Paper on August 06, 2020.

A bill to ensure that incarcerated parents are sent to detention facilities closer to their children’s homes passed in the New York State legislature on July 21 — nine years after a Brooklyn lawmaker first introduced the bill.

The proximity bill, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and is expected to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is the brainchild of retiring senate stalwart Velmanette Montgomery — who introduced the measure, known as “April’s Law,” after meeting three children of incarcerated parents who shared their fraught experiences with the criminal justice system.

One Brooklyn resident, 25-year-old Alonicha “April” Triana, grew up visiting her father each month in a prison a few miles upstate — but when her mother was incarcerated nearly 400 miles away at a correctional facility near Lake Ontario, the distance made it impossible for her to visit. 

During their 2011 meeting, the distraught daughter told Montomery that her experience was not unique, and spoke of the trauma a lack of visitation can have on a child. 

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