Bill S1789A-2013

Establishes a pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home

Establishes a pilot project for placement of inmates close to home; provides that such project would house inmates who are parents 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.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 3, 2014: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • May 23, 2014: PRINT NUMBER 1789A
  • May 23, 2014: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION
  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION

Meetings

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Crime Victims, Crime and Correction - Jun 3, 2014
Ayes (7): Carlucci, Nozzolio, Hassell-Thompson, Montgomery, Hoylman, Peralta, Rivera
Ayes W/R (5): Gallivan, DeFrancisco, Griffo, Little, Maziarz
Nays (1): Ritchie

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1789A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law, in relation to establishing the pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof

PURPOSE: To conduct a pilot program placing certain inmates in facilities closer to the communities where their children reside

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section one of the bill is the name of this act which shall be the "pilot project for placement of inmates close to home."

Section two of the bill is the legislative intent.

Section three of this bill establishes the pilot program in a facility of the Department of Corrections' choosing which will house inmate volunteers whose minor children reside close to the facility in order to facilitate visitation between the inmate parent and his or her child. The Office of Children and Family Services and/or the local district social services offices will be consulted as to the appropriateness of visitation before any inmate is admitted to the program. Further, a comprehensive analysis is required to determine the effectiveness of this pilot and make recommendations, if any, for expansion and improvement.

Section four is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Approximately 59% of all New York state prison and jail inmates are parents. For women under custody in New York the number is closer to 71%. More than 80,000 minor children in New York State have a parent incarcerated in a state prison. Transportation provides a major barrier to visitation.

Inmates are often placed in prisons far from their children and far from home. Male inmates at Lakeview Correctional Facility who come from New York City are more than 400 miles from home, while female inmates at Albion are around 375 miles from New York City. Distances are large and public transportation is difficult, especially with the termination of the longstanding DOGS free bus program that provided visitors with transportation to remote prisons from sites around the state.

For children in foster care, distance is the number one barrier to legally mandated visits with their incarcerated parents. Social service agencies are required to maintain contact with incarcerated parents (except in cases where a court has ruled otherwise) including bringing children for visits with parents in prison. When the goal is reunification the requirement to provide visits extends to the tri-state area. Non-compliance is routine in large part because of the distance. Given the caseloads and demands on child welfare workers, it is difficult to take a whole day or two for one parent-child visit. As a result, children in foster care with incarcerated parents suffer greatly from lack of parental contact. Without visits, an incarcerated parent is at great risk for termination of his or hem

parental rights, the permanent legal severing of the parent-child relationship. Recent studies have emphasized the importance of visits and family ties in the prevention of recidivism. One study found that every visit a prisoner received measurably and increasingly lowered the likelihood of recidivism. Visits by relatives, including children, seem to matter most when it comes to reducing recidivism, creating a significant public safety benefit to supporting the maintenance of parent-child and other ties during incarceration.

Children who have parents in prison are significantly affected by the frequency and quality of contact with their parents. While there are instances when visits are not in children's best interest, for most children visits are beneficial to their psychological and emotional well-being, their physical health and development, and can help smooth the reentry process and family reunification. Children of incarcerated parents are recognized as an at-risk population and parental incarceration is now included as an ACE factor, as "Adverse Childhood Experience," that can negatively affect children's development. The risks for children associated with having an incarcerated parent can be significantly mitigated by the continuing presence of the parent in the child's life, through visitation, telephone contact, and letters. The number one way to promote visiting is by reducing the distances between the incarcerated parent and their children.

While the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision normally places inmates in prisons based on classification by security level and programmatic needs, this pilot program will explore the use of a third criterion, proximity to an inmate's minor children. The purpose of this act is to establish a pilot program to assess the effects of housing inmates who are parents of minor children close to home in order to facilitate visitation between such parents and their children. The department will select 60 inmate volunteers to be housed in a facility closest to the communities where their children reside where such facility is an otherwise appropriate placement for them.

The department will be required to report to the legislature and the governor on the effectiveness of the pilot program and make recommendations for expansion to other correctional facilities in order to place more inmates close to their families and minor children. Should the pilot program prove beneficial, the expectation is that the program will be broadened to allow more inmates to be housed in close proximity to their home communities, thus facilitating visitation and contacts with their children and other family members.

This bill also calls for an independent, academic analysis of the effect of the pilot program prepared in consultation. with the department. Such analysis will report on the impact, if any, the placement of such inmates closest to the communities where their children reside has had on the inmates themselves, the safety and security of the facility, the foster care case and local social service agency, if applicable, and, where possible, on the family members and children involved as well as any other effect of the program that can be measured. The report shall include recommendations as to the future of the program and what modifications would be recommended in order to improve implementation and outcomes.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect six months after it shall have become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1789--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. RIVERA, MONTGOMERY, HASSELL-THOMPSON, KRUEGER, PARK- ER, STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction -- recommitted to the Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit- tee AN ACT to amend the correction law, in relation to establishing the pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home; and provid- ing 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: Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home". S 2. Legislative intent. The legislature hereby finds and declares that research shows inmates who maintain family ties during incarcera- tion have lower rates of recidivism than inmates who do not. Further, most inmates are parents, and more than 80,000 children in the state of New York have a parent incarcerated in the state prison system. The legislature further finds that the department of corrections and community supervision should consider proximity to minor children among the key criteria of security and health and program needs when determin- ing prison assignments and transfers of parents, and should support increased access of children to their incarcerated parents through the use of technology and programs currently available within the depart- ment. The legislature therefore declares that there is a need to develop classification criteria that would place inmates in proximity to their family members and home communities, and in particular for those inmates who are parents of minor children in the appropriate correctional facil-
ity located closest to those children provided such placement is other- wise appropriate and suitable, and would facilitate increased contact between such inmate and his or her child or children. S 3. The correction law is amended by adding a new section 72-c to read as follows: S 72-C. PILOT PROJECT FOR THE PLACEMENT OF INMATES CLOSE TO HOME. 1. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH A PILOT PROGRAM AT A DESIGNATED CORREC- TIONAL FACILITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF HOUSING INMATES WHO ARE PARENTS OF MINOR CHILDREN IN THE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY WHICH IS LOCATED IN CLOSEST PROXIMITY TO THE PRIMARY PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF ANY SUCH INMATE'S MINOR CHILD OR CHILDREN UNDER EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, PROVIDED THAT SUCH PLACE- MENT IS OTHERWISE SUITABLE AND APPROPRIATE PURSUANT TO THE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT AND WOULD FACILITATE INCREASED CONTACT BETWEEN SUCH INMATE AND HIS OR HER CHILD OR CHILDREN. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS PILOT PROGRAM, THERE SHALL BE A MAXIMUM OF ONE HUNDRED MALE AND FEMALE INMATES, WHO ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS REQUEST PLACEMENT IN THE PILOT PROGRAM AND WHO ARE PARENTS OF MINOR CHILDREN. IN SELECTING SUCH INMATES THE DEPARTMENT SHALL CONSULT WITH THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES AND THE LOCAL DISTRICT OF SOCIAL SERVICES LOCATED IN THE COUNTY WHERE SUCH INMATE'S CHILD RESIDES TO DETERMINE IF ANY REASONS EXIST, SUCH AS NO VISITATION ORDER, THAT MAY PREVENT THE INMATE FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE PILOT PROGRAM. IF THE INMATE'S CHILD AND/OR FAMILY IS SUBJECT TO THE PREVIEW OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES OR A LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT, THE DEPARTMENT SHALL CONSULT WITH THE ASSIGNED AGENCY TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE CHILD AND/OR FAMILY IS SUITABLE FOR PARTIC- IPATION IN THE PILOT PROGRAM, AND, IF SO, COLLABORATE WITH SUCH AGENCY TO OBTAIN INFORMATION RELATING TO SUCH CHILD AND/OR FAMILY AS SHALL BE NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PILOT PROGRAM. 2. THE COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION WITH APPROPRIATE COMMUNITY ORGAN- IZATIONS, SHALL SUBMIT WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION AND ANNUALLY THEREAFTER A REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY ON THE EFFEC- TIVENESS OF THIS PILOT PROJECT. SUCH REPORTS SHALL INCLUDE AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT ON THE INMATE, INCLUDING FACTORS SUCH AS INSTITUTIONAL ADJUSTMENT, BEHAVIOR INFRACTIONS, AND PROGRAM PARTICIPATION, AMONG RELATED RELEVANT FACTORS, AND ON HIS OR HER CHILDREN AND FAMILY PARTIC- IPANTS. THE REPORTS SHALL ALSO INCLUDE ANALYSIS OF FACTORS SUCH AS FREQUENCY OF VISITS, REPORTS FROM CAREGIVERS ABOUT CHILDREN'S CONNECTED- NESS TO THEIR INCARCERATED PARENTS, CHILDREN'S EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING AND BEHAVIOR IN THE HOME, AND OTHER RELEVANT FACTORS AS INCLUDED IN THE CAREGIVER'S REPORTS. FOR CHILD WELFARE CASES, IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE FACTORS, PROGRESS TOWARD PERMANENCY GOALS, PARENT'S PARTICIPATION IN CASE PLANNING, AND OTHER RELEVANT FACTORS SHALL BE NOTED. IN CASES WHERE AN INMATE PARENT'S RELEASE IS IMMINENT, AS DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSION- ER, THE REPORT SHALL EXAMINE THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT RECEIVED AND PROVIDED BY THE INMATE'S FAMILY THROUGH FAMILY INVOLVEMENT AND THE ATTACHMENT BETWEEN A RETURNING PARENT AND HIS OR HER CHILDREN UPON REUNIFICATION. THE REPORTS SHALL ALSO INCLUDE SUCH IMPACT ON INSTITUTIONAL SAFETY AND PERFORMANCE AND ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ADDITIONAL LEGISLATIVE ENACT- MENTS THAT MAY BE NEEDED OR REQUIRED, TO IMPROVE, ENHANCE AND SUBSE- QUENTLY EXPAND THE PROGRAM TO OTHER CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES AS DETER- MINED TO BE APPROPRIATE BY THE COMMISSIONER. IN COMPILING SUCH REPORTS, THE COMMISSIONER MAY ESTABLISH AND UTILIZE A CONTROL GROUP AND, IF HE OR SHE FAILS TO DO SO, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL INCLUDE AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY A CONTROL GROUP WAS NOT USED.
3. NO PERSON SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEMAND OR REQUIRE PARTICIPATION IN THE PILOT PROJECT AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION. THE COMMISSIONER MAY REVOKE AT ANY TIME PARTICIPATION IN SUCH PROJECT FOR ANY SERIOUS DISCI- PLINARY INFRACTION COMMITTED BY THE INMATE OR FOR ANY FAILURE TO CONTIN- UE TO PARTICIPATE SUCCESSFULLY IN ANY ASSIGNED WORK AND TREATMENT PROGRAM AFTER PLACEMENT IN SUCH PILOT PROGRAM. 4. AN ELIGIBILITY PREFERENCE SHALL BE GRANTED FOR CHILD WELFARE CASES. ADMISSION SHALL BE GRANTED ON A ROLLING BASIS AND PRIORITY SHALL BE GIVEN TO INMATES WHO WERE PRIMARY CAREGIVERS, ALTHOUGH ALL INMATE PARENTS SHALL BE CONSIDERED. THE FAMILIES OF INMATES SHALL SUBMIT DEMON- STRATED PROOF THAT THEY WILL VISIT THE INMATE IF THE PERSON LIVES CLOS- ER, AND THE INMATE SHALL REQUEST THAT SUCH FAMILY MEMBERS SUBMIT LETTERS. OTHER RELEVANT FACTORS SHALL BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WHETHER AN INMATE'S FAMILY MEMBER HAS AN UNDUE HARDSHIP THAT WOULD AFFECT THE PERSON'S ABILITY TO VISIT THE INMATE. SUCH HARDSHIP SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, A PHYSICAL DISABILITY OR SERIOUS ILLNESS THAT INHIBITS TRAVEL, OR WHETHER THEY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO REASONABLY VISIT THE INMATE BECAUSE THEY WOULD BE UNABLE TO VISIT BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND CANNOT AFFORD OR USE A MOTOR VEHICLE. ANY ACTION BY THE COMMISSIONER PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED A JUDICIAL FUNCTION AND SHALL NOT BE REVIEWABLE IF DONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW. 5. INMATES SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS PROGRAM FOR A VARIETY OF FACTORS, AS LISTED IN, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THOSE ENUMERATED IN THIS SECTION. INMATES WHO ARE INCARCERATED FOR VIOLATING PAROLE OR CONDI- TIONAL RELEASE SHALL BE INELIGIBLE FOR THIS PROGRAM. INMATES WHO WERE CONVICTED OF A SEX OFFENSE SHALL BE INELIGIBLE FOR THIS PROGRAM. INMATES WHO HAVE COMMITTED A CRIME AGAINST A CHILD SHALL BE INELIGIBLE FOR THIS PROGRAM. INMATES FOR WHOM A CLOSER LOCATION WOULD NOT LEAD TO MORE VISI- TORS SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS PROGRAM. INMATES WHO HAVE NOT HAD CONTACT WITH THEIR CHILDREN IN OVER A YEAR OUT OF THEIR OWN VOLITION SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS PROGRAM, UNLESS THERE IS A COMPELLING REASON FOR NOT HAVING HAD CONTACT WITH THEIR CHILDREN. THE COMMISSIONER IS EMPOWERED TO GRANT PREFERENCE TO MORE INVOLVED INMATE PARENTS, AS DETERMINED BY THE AMOUNT OF CONTACT THAT THE CHILDREN HAVE WITH THEIR PARENTS, SHOULD THE COMMISSIONER DETERMINE TO DO SO. INMATES WHO WOULD ORDINARILY BE SENT TO A STRICTER SECURITY LEVEL PRISON SHALL NOT, UNLESS COMPELLING REASONS SHALL SUGGEST OTHERWISE, BE SENT TO A LIGHTER SECURI- TY PRISON BECAUSE OF PROXIMITY ON THE BASIS OF THIS PROGRAM. MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES SHALL NOT BE AN ISSUE OF INELIGIBILITY WITH REGARD TO THIS PROGRAM, UNLESS THERE IS A COMPELLING REASON TO DO SO. S 4. This act shall take effect six months after it shall have become a law and shall expire 3 years after it shall take effect when upon such date the provisions of this act shall be deemed repealed. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regu- lation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date is authorized to be made on or before such date.

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