Bill S5906-2011

Relates to the segregated confinement of inmates with serious mental illness

Relates to the segregated confinement of inmates with serious mental illness.

Details

Actions

  • Mar 7, 2012: DEFEATED IN CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION
  • Feb 21, 2012: NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION
  • Oct 5, 2011: REFERRED TO RULES

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Crime Victims, Crime and Correction - Mar 7, 2012
Ayes (5): Hassell-Thompson, Montgomery, Kennedy, Peralta, Espaillat
Ayes W/R (1): Rivera
Nays (8): Nozzolio, DeFrancisco, Gallivan, Griffo, Little, Maziarz, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5906

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law, in relation to limiting the segregated confinement of persons in a correctional facility with serious mental illness

PURPOSE: To ensure that inmates are not placed in segregated confinement -- a Special Housing Unit (SHU) -- unless they have engaged in highly dangerous, violent or serious escape-related behavior while incarcerated in that facility.

To limit the amount of time that an inmate may spend in a SHU to 90 days, except for an inmate whose behavior exposes a pattern of extreme violence or danger to himself or others.

To establish an independent review board, to be known as the "inmate's special housing unit review council," to determine after 90 days whether continued confinement in an SHU is warranted and necessary. The council will be composed of seven members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. One member shall be an attorney, one member shall be a mental health professional, one member shall be a criminal justice expert appointed from within employees of the state university system, and one member shall be a former inmate.

To ensure that inmates suffering from a mental illness shall not be unnecessarily confined in a SHU whether such mental illness preceded such confinement or developed during the course of such confinement. Requires inmate's removal from segregated confinement except in exceptional circumstances as defined in correction law section 137 (d)(ii)(E).

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Paragraphs (c), (d), (e) and (f) of subdivision 6 of section 137 of the correction law are relettered paragraphs (e), (f), (g) and (h) and two new paragraphs (c) and (d) are added and subparagraph (i) of paragraph (f), as amended by Chapter 1 of the laws of 2008 and as relettered, is amended.

EXISTING LAW: No provision of the correction law applies to this issue.

JUSTIFICATION: In New York nearly 4,300 (as of September 2011) prisoners are confined to 23 hour disciplinary lockdown in SHU. This amounts to roughly eight percent of the State's more than 56,000 inmates, a reliance on SHU that is four times the national average of about two percent.

Prisoners who act out or cannot comply with rules in the general prison population likely suffer from mild forms of mental illness to begin with. As of August 2011, approximately 14.5 percent of the State's inmate population has some form of mental illness, of which the Office of Mental Health designated 2,562 as seriously mentally

ill. The majority of these inmates with serious mental illness were previously residing in general population.

The psychiatric problems of inmates deepen and become profoundly dangerous during long months, even years, in the isolation of SHU. Prisoners confined to 23-hour lockdown in SHU exhibit symptoms of mental illness, including depression, increased paranoia, agitation, manic activity, delusions, florid psychotic illness and suicide. Of the total number of inmates designated as seriously mentally ill, 278 of the total number of inmates designated as seriously mentally ill had a confinement sanction (either SHU or Keeplock) over 30 days. Of this number, 272 were in a Residential Mental Health Treatment Unit (RMHTU), not a segregated confinement unit. It is vital that we continue to ensure mentally ill inmates receive treatment rather than disciplinary punishment.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2001-2002: S.1634 Died in Committee 2003-2004: S.2272 Died in Committee 2005-2006: S.1498 Died in Committee 2007-2008: S.2013 Died in Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5906 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE October 5, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. MONTGOMERY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the correction law, in relation to limiting the segre- gated confinement of persons in a correctional facility with serious mental illness THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraphs (c), (d), (e) and (f) of subdivision 6 of section 137 of the correction law are relettered paragraphs (e), (f), (g) and (h) and two new paragraphs (c) and (d) are added and subpara- graph (i) of paragraph (f), as amended by chapter 1 of the laws of 2008 and as relettered by this section, is amended to read as follows: (C) INMATES SHALL NOT BE IN SEGREGATED CONFINEMENT FOR REASON OF DISCIPLINE, DETENTION, ADMINISTRATIVE SEGREGATION, PROTECTIVE CUSTODY, KEEPLOCK, OR ANY OTHER REASON FOR ADMISSION, UNLESS THEY HAVE ENGAGED IN HIGHLY DANGEROUS, VIOLENT OR SERIOUS ESCAPE-RELATED BEHAVIOR WHILE INCARCERATED IN THAT FACILITY; (D) CONFINEMENT IN SEGREGATED CONFINEMENT SHALL BE LIMITED TO NOT MORE THAN NINETY DAYS, EXCEPT FOR AN INMATE WHOSE BEHAVIOR EXPOSES A PATTERN OF EXTREME VIOLENCE OR DANGER TO HIMSELF OR OTHERS AND, PROVIDED THAT FOR THOSE CONFINED LONGER THAN NINETY DAYS, THERE SHALL BE A REVIEW EVERY NINETY DAYS BY AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW BOARD, TO BE KNOWN AS THE INMATE'S SPECIAL HOUSING UNIT REVIEW COUNCIL TO DETERMINE WHETHER CONTINUED SEGREGATED CONFINEMENT IS WARRANTED AND NECESSARY. SUCH COUN- CIL SHALL BE COMPOSED OF SEVEN MEMBERS APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE SENATE. ONE MEMBER SHALL BE AN ATTORNEY ADMITTED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THIS STATE, ONE MEMBER SHALL BE A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL, ONE MEMBER SHALL BE A CRIMINAL JUSTICE EXPERT APPOINTED FROM WITHIN EMPLOYEES OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM, AND ONE MEMBER SHALL BE A FORMER INMATE;
(i) Except as set forth in clause (E) of subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, the department, in consultation with mental health clini- cians, shall divert TO A RESIDENTIAL MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT UNIT, or SHALL remove inmates with serious mental illness FROM SEGREGATED CONFINEMENT, WHETHER SUCH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS, as defined in para- graph [(e)] (G) of this subdivision, [from segregated confinement, where such confinement could potentially be for a period in excess of thirty days, to a residential mental health treatment unit] PRECEDED SUCH CONFINEMENT OR DEVELOPED DURING THE COURSE OF SUCH CONFINEMENT. Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to prevent the disciplinary process from proceeding in accordance with department rules and regulations for disciplinary hearings. S 2. Section 500-k of the correction law, as amended by chapter 2 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: S 500-k. Treatment of inmates. Subdivisions five and six of section one hundred thirty-seven of this chapter, except paragraphs [(d)] (F) and [(e)] (G) of subdivision six of such section, relating to the treat- ment of inmates in state correctional facilities are applicable to inmates confined in county jails; except that the report required by paragraph [(f)] (H) of subdivision six of such section shall be made to a person designated to receive such report in the rules and regulations of the state commission of correction, or in any county or city where there is a department of [correction] CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, to the head of such department. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amend- ment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implemen- tation of this act on its effective date is authorized to be made on or before such date.

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