Assemblyman Raymond Walter (R,C,I-Amherst) recently voted to create the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, which will implement long-overdue safeguards for New Yorkers living in residential, state-run human services facilities. The legislation was authored in response to a report commissioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo, titled The Measure of a Society: Protection of Vulnerable Persons in Residential Facilities Against Abuse & Neglect. The study, which was conducted by a Special Advisor on Vulnerable Persons appointed by the governor, concluded that state law contained many gaps and inconsistencies regarding the prevention and reporting of abuse and neglect in such facilities. As a result, Walter voted to create the Justice Center, whose singular focus will be to monitor and prevent the abuse and neglect of vulnerable New Yorkers, in addition to strengthening criminal statutes against those that commit such transgressions.
“New York State can only be truly strong if we care for those that need our help the most,” said Walter. “The Justice Center’s primary function will be to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers from the neglect and abuse that has plagued the special needs community for far too long. This legislation will address the flaws and loopholes that have allowed too many of our friends, neighbors and family members to fall through the cracks, and I commend my colleagues in state government for joining together in bi-partisan fashion to confront this grave, unacceptable problem.”