Senator Gallivan Announces Governor Signs Legislation to Assist Correctional Facilities

New Laws Address Inmate Care and Housing

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) announces Governor Cuomo has signed two bills related to health care services for county jail inmates and the housing of out of state inmates.  Senator Gallivan sponsored both pieces of legislation, which were passed, by the Senate and Assembly in June.

The first bill (S.5409A) allows county jails to contract with medical professional corporations to provide inmate health care services.  It amends the existing correction law, which dates back to 1929 and give counties flexibility when it comes to medical care for inmates of a county jail.       

“Currently, counties must appoint a reputable physician to provide health care services to inmates, but many rural counties have found it difficult to identify and recruit a single person to serve as a jail doctor,” Gallivan said.  “By updating this law, we reduce the burden on counties and allow them to contract with authorized medical partnerships and corporations.”  

The new law recognizes that the health care delivery system has evolved over the years and allows individual counties to contract with a professional partnership, a professional service corporation, a professional service limited liability company or a registered limited liability company to provide health services to county inmates.   

The second bill (S.5894) extends a current law, which is set to expire September 1, 2017, and allows local correctional facilities to board inmates from neighboring states.  The new law will extend until September 1, 2020. 

Many county jail facilities are partially vacant because of an overall decrease in inmate population.  In an effort to offset the cost of operating these facilities, some counties house state or federal inmates or inmates from other counties.  This new law gives counties the added option of entering into contracts to house certain inmates from other states’ local correctional facilities.

“As the former Sheriff of Erie County, I understand the enormous cost of operating a jail,” Gallivan said.  “Local counties should have the opportunity to bring inmates from other states to fill their vacant cells and generate additional revenue to help maintain their facilities.” 

The new law could benefit every county in New York that has the capacity to accept out of state inmates and allow them to offset a portion of their overhead costs for operating their jail facilities.

“I thank Governor Cuomo for signing these important bills into law.”