Bonacic: Legislation to Increase Safety and Security at Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities Passes Senate

John J. Bonacic

June 14, 2011

The New York State Senate today passed legislation, S.3349 by Senator Bonacic, which would increase the safety and security at alcohol and substance abuse treatment facilities that are utilized for judicial diversion programs.

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/C/I – Mt. Hope) was inspired to sponsor this amendment to the criminal procedure law when a security guard; Lee Wood was killed and a nurse; Keri Reynolds was stabbed at the Renaissance Project; a substance abuse treatment facility outside of Ellenville, NY by a felon with a history of violence who was being treated at the facility.

“Richard Giga had a history of violence and this is something that needs to be taken into account when the court system is assigning defendants to a judicial diversion program for substance abuse,” said Senator Bonacic. “The death of Lee Woods and the injuries Keri Reynolds sustained show that this legislation is an essential measure we needed to take to protect the hardworking staff at alcohol and substance abuse treatment facilities across the state.”

The legislation would require that when the placement of an individual in a judicial diversion program for drug and/or substance abuse is being decided, the court must take into consideration the propensity of the individual to engage in future violent conduct. Additionally, the legislation requires that any facility treating a defendant in a judicial diversion program shall notify the local police department of the defendants placement and arrest record, and shall submit a security plan to the division of criminal justice services which must be updated every five years.