Stec, Senate Republican Leader Ortt, Assemblyman Simpson and NYSCOPBA Announce Bill to Repeal HALT

Daniel G. Stec

May 24, 2022

After record amount of attacks on COs, legislation would restore use of solitary housing units

Senator Dan Stec (R,C-Queensbury) today joined Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Matt Simpson (R,C,I-Horicon) and officials from the New York State Corrections Officers Police Benevolent Association at a press conference to announce legislation that would repeal the HALT Act (Senate bill S9378/Assembly bill number pending).

HALT ends the use of special housing units in correctional facilities. Last year saw a record amount of attacks on corrections officers and since HALT’s implementation on April 1, assaults on officers has risen by 25 percent. Repealing HALT would provide corrections officers with a crucial resource in the effort to keep themselves and corrections staff safe from violent and disruptive incarcerates.

“There was a record amount of attacks on corrections officers last year. With HALT in place, this year is poised to be even worse,” said Senator Stec. “HALT and its implementation have been disastrous for the safety of COs and civilian staff at facilities and this increase in attacks has combined with a decrease in new recruits to create a crisis at correctional facilities. We must repeal HALT and ensure officers have all the resources and support they need to protect themselves and make correctional facilities safer.”   

"We have to remember that the people who require solitary confinement are not the people who have committed minor misdemeanors - these are incredibly dangerous and violent individuals, and their confinement is for the safety of the staff and other inmates. These prisoners will no doubt take advantage of the lack of consequences for violent actions against correction officers and other inmates - in fact, it’s already happening. Albany politicians must listen and learn from the stakeholders - the correction officers, who are the ones on the ground working in correctional facilities every day," said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

“One of the most basic and fundamental tasks our State is responsible for is the safety of its citizens and this includes those working in our correctional facilities. Unfortunately, despite working in an already dangerous setting, the HALT Act has put our brave Correctional Officers in an increasingly violent environment that daily violates their health and safety,” stated Assemblyman Simpson. “We cannot in good faith expect these men and women to carry out an inherently difficult task and then strip them of the tools they need to fulfill their job. HALT has made our correction facilities more dangerous and undermines the work of our COs. We must restore some semblance of order and repeal HALT. How many more men and women need to be harmed before the legislature will act?”

“The data tells you everything you need to know about the impact the HALT Act has had on our correctional facilities. Prior to its implementation, the monthly average of assaults hovered around 190 for the past three years. In the month that’s followed HALT being fully implemented, the number of attacks skyrocketed to 260 and it continues to climb. Conditions inside our prisons are worsening by the day and HALT needs to be repealed immediately,” said NYSCOPBA President Michael Powers.

Video of the entire press conference can be viewed here:

Video of Stec’s remarks can be viewed here: