Bill Text: NY A06818 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Establishes a pilot project for placement of female inmates close to home; provides that such project would house inmates who are mothers of minor children in the correctional facility located in closest proximity to the primary place of residence of any such inmate's minor child or children.

Spectrum: Strong Partisan Bill (Democrat 12-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-20 - referred to correction [A06818 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06818-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     March 20, 2019
        Introduced  by  M. of A. CRESPO, PEOPLES-STOKES, LENTOL, D'URSO, JAFFEE,
          BLAKE, ORTIZ, HYNDMAN, COOK, HEVESI -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of  A.
          McDONOUGH,  SIMON,  WALLACE -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Correction
        AN ACT to amend the correction law,  in  relation  to  establishing  the
          pilot  project  for the placement of female inmates close to home; and
          providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "pilot project for the placement of female inmates close to home".
     3    § 2. Legislative intent. The legislature  hereby  finds  and  declares
     4  that  research  shows  female  inmates  who  maintain family ties during
     5  incarceration have lower rates of recidivism than inmates who do not.
     6    The legislature further finds that approximately 75%  of  incarcerated
     7  women are parents and over 80,000 minor children have a parent incarcer-
     8  ated in a state prison.
     9    The legislature further finds that an estimated 8 in 10 women in state
    10  prison  have  experienced severe abuse as children and an estimated 9 in
    11  10 have endured physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes.
    12    The legislature further finds that as of 2010, more than 42% of  women
    13  in  New  York's prisons had been diagnosed with a serious mental illness
    14  and proximity to supporting family and friends  has  a  direct  link  to
    15  recovery.
    16    The  legislature  further  finds that nearly 54% of women prisoners do
    17  not have a high school diploma and 35% read at an eighth grade level  or
    18  below and need assistance in maintaining connections with their families
    19  once incarcerated.
    20    The  legislature  further finds that the department of corrections and
    21  community supervision should consider proximity to minor children  among
    22  the key criteria of security and health and program needs when determin-
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 6818                             2
     1  ing  prison  assignments  and  transfers  of mothers, and should support
     2  increased access of children to their incarcerated mothers  through  the
     3  use  of  technology  and programs currently available within the depart-
     4  ment.
     5    The  legislature  therefore  declares  that there is a need to develop
     6  classification criteria that would place female inmates in proximity  to
     7  their  family  members and home communities, and in particular for those
     8  inmates who are mothers of minor children in the appropriate correction-
     9  al facility located closest to those children provided such placement is
    10  otherwise appropriate  and  suitable,  and  would  facilitate  increased
    11  contact between such female inmate and her child or children.
    12    §  3.  The  correction  law is amended by adding a new section 72-c to
    13  read as follows:
    14    § 72-c. Pilot project for the placement of  female  inmates  close  to
    15  home.  1.   The commissioner shall establish a pilot program at a desig-
    16  nated correctional facility for the purpose of  housing  female  inmates
    17  who  are mothers of minor children in the correctional facility which is
    18  located in closest proximity to the primary place of  residence  of  any
    19  such  inmate's  minor  child  or  children  under eighteen years of age,
    20  provided that such  placement  is  otherwise  suitable  and  appropriate
    21  pursuant  to  the  regulations  of  the  department and would facilitate
    22  increased contact between such inmate and her  child  or  children.  For
    23  purposes of this pilot program, there shall be a maximum of two hundred,
    24  but  no  less  than one hundred female inmates, who on a voluntary basis
    25  request placement in the pilot program and  who  are  mothers  of  minor
    26  children.  In  selecting  such inmates the department shall consult with
    27  the office of children and family services and  the  local  district  of
    28  social  services located in the county where such inmate's child resides
    29  to determine if any reasons exist, such as no visitation order, that may
    30  prevent the inmate from participating  in  the  pilot  program.  If  the
    31  inmate's  child and/or family is subject to the purview of the office of
    32  children and family services or a local social  services  district,  the
    33  department  shall  consult with the assigned agency to determine whether
    34  the child and/or family is  suitable  for  participation  in  the  pilot
    35  program,  and, if so, collaborate with such agency to obtain information
    36  relating to such child and/or family as shall be necessary to  determine
    37  the effectiveness of the pilot program.
    38    2. The commissioner, in consultation with appropriate community organ-
    39  izations,  shall  submit  within  one year of the effective date of this
    40  section and annually thereafter a report to the governor, the  temporary
    41  president  of  the  senate and the speaker of the assembly on the effec-
    42  tiveness of this pilot project.  Such reports shall include an  analysis
    43  of  the  impact  on  the inmate, including factors such as institutional
    44  adjustment,  behavior  infractions,  and  program  participation,  among
    45  related  relevant  factors, and on her children and family participants.
    46  The reports shall also include analysis of factors such as frequency  of
    47  visits,  reports from caregivers about children's connectedness to their
    48  incarcerated mothers, children's emotional well-being  and  behavior  in
    49  the  home,  and  other  relevant  factors as included in the caregiver's
    50  reports. For child welfare cases, in  addition  to  the  above  factors,
    51  progress  toward  permanency goals, mother's participation in case plan-
    52  ning, and other relevant factors shall  be  noted.  In  cases  where  an
    53  inmate  mother's release is imminent, as determined by the commissioner,
    54  the report shall examine the level of support received and  provided  by
    55  the  inmate's  family  through  family  involvement  and  the attachment
    56  between a returning mother and  her  children  upon  reunification.  The

        A. 6818                             3
     1  reports  shall  also include any recommendations for additional legisla-
     2  tive enactments that may be needed or required, to improve, enhance  and
     3  subsequently  expand  the  program  to  other correctional facilities as
     4  determined to be appropriate by the commissioner.
     5    3.  No  person shall have the right to demand or require participation
     6  in the pilot project authorized by this section.   The commissioner  may
     7  revoke  at any time participation in such project for any serious disci-
     8  plinary infraction committed by the inmate or for any failure to contin-
     9  ue to participate  successfully  in  any  assigned  work  and  treatment
    10  program after placement in such pilot program.
    11    4. An eligibility preference shall be granted for child welfare cases.
    12  Admission  shall  be  granted  on  a rolling basis and priority shall be
    13  given to inmates who were primary caregivers, although all inmate  moth-
    14  ers  shall  be  considered.  The families of inmates shall submit demon-
    15  strated proof that they will visit the inmate if she lives  closer,  and
    16  the  inmate shall request that such family members submit letters. Other
    17  relevant factors shall be taken into consideration,  including  but  not
    18  limited to, whether an inmate's family member has an undue hardship that
    19  would  affect  the  person's  ability to visit the inmate. Such hardship
    20  shall include, but not be limited to, a physical disability  or  serious
    21  illness  that  inhibits  travel,  or  whether  they would not be able to
    22  reasonably visit the inmate because they would be  unable  to  visit  by
    23  public  transportation  and  cannot  afford or use a motor vehicle.  Any
    24  action by the commissioner pursuant to this section shall  be  deemed  a
    25  judicial function and shall not be reviewable if done in accordance with
    26  law.
    27    5.  Inmates  shall  not  be eligible for this program for a variety of
    28  factors, as listed in, but not limited  to,  those  enumerated  in  this
    29  section.  Inmates  who  are  incarcerated for violating parole or condi-
    30  tional release shall be ineligible for this program.  Inmates  who  were
    31  convicted of a sex offense shall be ineligible for this program. Inmates
    32  who  have committed a crime against a child shall be ineligible for this
    33  program. Inmates for whom a closer location would not lead to more visi-
    34  tors shall not be eligible for this program. Inmates who  have  not  had
    35  contact  with  their  children  in over a year out of their own volition
    36  shall not be eligible for this program, unless  there  is  a  compelling
    37  reason  for not having had contact with their children. The commissioner
    38  is empowered to grant preference to more  involved  inmate  mothers,  as
    39  determined  by  the  amount of contact that the children have with their
    40  mother, should the commissioner determine  to  do  so.    Mental  health
    41  issues  shall  not  be  an  issue  of  ineligibility with regard to this
    42  program, unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
    43    § 4. This act shall take effect six months after it shall have  become
    44  a law and shall expire 3 years after it shall take effect when upon such
    45  date  the  provisions  of  this act shall be deemed repealed.  Effective
    46  immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or  regu-
    47  lation  necessary  for  the  implementation of this act on its effective
    48  date are authorized to be made on or before such date.