A02308 Summary:

COSPNSRAubry, Perry, Sepulveda, Gottfried, Rozic, Camara, Hooper, Mosley
MLTSPNSRLentol, Rivera
Add S72-c, Cor L
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.
Go to top    

A02308 Actions:

01/14/2013referred to correction
04/15/2013reported referred to ways and means
01/08/2014referred to correction
05/13/2014reported referred to ways and means
05/27/2014amend and recommit to ways and means
05/27/2014print number 2308a
Go to top

A02308 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Crespo (MS)
  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 facili- ties 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 improve- ment. 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 reunifica- tion 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, chil- dren 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 empha- sized the importance of visits and family ties in the prevention of recidivism. One study found that every visit a prisoner received measur- ably 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 incar- ceration. 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 incarcera- tion is now included as an ACE factor, as "Adverse Childhood Experi- ence," that can negatively affect children's development. The risks for children associated with having an incarcerated parent can be signif- icantly 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 GO 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 recommenda- tions 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 modifi- cations would be recommended in order to improve implementation and outcomes.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A. 2308 of 2013.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect six months after it shall have become law.
Go to top

A02308 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2013-2014 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 14, 2013
        Introduced  by M. of A. CRESPO, AUBRY, PERRY -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M.
          of A. LENTOL -- read once and referred to the Committee on  Correction
          --  recommitted  to  the  Committee  on  Correction in accordance with
          Assembly Rule 3, sec. 2 -- reported and referred to the  Committee  on
          Ways   and  Means  --  committee  discharged,  bill  amended,  ordered

          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
        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:
     1    Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "pilot project for the placement of inmates close to home".
     3    § 2. Legislative intent. The legislature  hereby  finds  and  declares
     4  that  research  shows inmates who maintain family ties during incarcera-
     5  tion have lower rates of recidivism than inmates who  do  not.  Further,
     6  most  inmates are parents, and more than 80,000 children in the state of

     7  New York have a parent incarcerated in the state prison system.
     8    The legislature further finds that the department of  corrections  and
     9  community  supervision should consider proximity to minor children among
    10  the key criteria of security and health and program needs when determin-
    11  ing prison assignments and transfers  of  parents,  and  should  support
    12  increased  access  of children to their incarcerated parents through the
    13  use of technology and programs currently available  within  the  depart-
    14  ment.
    15    The  legislature  therefore  declares  that there is a need to develop
    16  classification criteria that would place inmates in proximity  to  their
    17  family members and home communities, and in particular for those inmates
    18  who are parents of minor children in the appropriate correctional facil-
    19  ity  located closest to those children provided such placement is other-

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 2308--A                          2
     1  wise appropriate and suitable, and would  facilitate  increased  contact
     2  between such inmate and his or her child or children.
     3    §  3.  The  correction  law is amended by adding a new section 72-c to
     4  read as follows:
     5    § 72-c. Pilot project for the placement of inmates close to  home.  1.
     6  The commissioner shall establish a pilot program at a designated correc-
     7  tional  facility  for  the purpose of housing inmates who are parents of
     8  minor children in the correctional facility which is located in  closest

     9  proximity  to  the primary place of residence of any such inmate's minor
    10  child or children under eighteen years of age, provided that such place-
    11  ment is otherwise suitable and appropriate pursuant to  the  regulations
    12  of  the  department  and would facilitate increased contact between such
    13  inmate and his or her child or children.  For  purposes  of  this  pilot
    14  program,  there  shall  be  a  maximum  of  one  hundred male and female
    15  inmates, who on a voluntary basis request placement in the pilot program
    16  and who are parents of minor children. In  selecting  such  inmates  the
    17  department shall consult with the office of children and family services
    18  and  the  local  district of social services located in the county where

    19  such inmate's child resides to determine if any reasons exist,  such  as
    20  no  visitation  order, that may prevent the inmate from participating in
    21  the pilot program. If the inmate's child and/or family is subject to the
    22  preview of the office of children and family services or a local  social
    23  services district, the department shall consult with the assigned agency
    24  to  determine  whether  the  child and/or family is suitable for partic-
    25  ipation in the pilot program, and, if so, collaborate with  such  agency
    26  to  obtain  information relating to such child and/or family as shall be
    27  necessary to determine the effectiveness of the pilot program.
    28    2. The commissioner, in consultation with appropriate community organ-

    29  izations, shall submit within one year of the  effective  date  of  this
    30  section  and annually thereafter a report to the governor, the temporary
    31  president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly  on  the  effec-
    32  tiveness  of this pilot project.  Such reports shall include an analysis
    33  of the impact on the inmate, including  factors  such  as  institutional
    34  adjustment,  behavior  infractions,  and  program  participation,  among
    35  related relevant factors, and on his or her children and family  partic-
    36  ipants.    The  reports  shall  also include analysis of factors such as
    37  frequency of visits, reports from caregivers about children's connected-
    38  ness to their incarcerated parents, children's emotional well-being  and

    39  behavior  in  the  home,  and  other relevant factors as included in the
    40  caregiver's reports. For child welfare cases, in addition to  the  above
    41  factors,  progress  toward  permanency  goals, parent's participation in
    42  case planning, and other relevant factors shall be noted. In cases where
    43  an inmate parent's release is imminent, as determined by the commission-
    44  er, the report shall examine the level of support received and  provided
    45  by  the  inmate's  family  through family involvement and the attachment
    46  between a returning parent and his or her children  upon  reunification.
    47  The  reports  shall also include such impact on institutional safety and
    48  performance and any recommendations for  additional  legislative  enact-

    49  ments  that  may  be  needed or required, to improve, enhance and subse-
    50  quently expand the program to other correctional  facilities  as  deter-
    51  mined to be appropriate by the commissioner.  In compiling such reports,
    52  the commissioner may establish and utilize a control group and, if he or
    53  she  fails to do so, the commissioner shall include an explanation as to
    54  why a control group was not used.
    55    3. No person shall have the right to demand or  require  participation
    56  in  the  pilot project authorized by this section.  The commissioner may

        A. 2308--A                          3
     1  revoke at any time participation in such project for any serious  disci-
     2  plinary infraction committed by the inmate or for any failure to contin-

     3  ue  to  participate  successfully  in  any  assigned  work and treatment
     4  program after placement in such pilot program.
     5    4. An eligibility preference shall be granted for child welfare cases.
     6  Admission  shall  be  granted  on  a rolling basis and priority shall be
     7  given to inmates  who  were  primary  caregivers,  although  all  inmate
     8  parents shall be considered. The families of inmates shall submit demon-
     9  strated  proof that they will visit the inmate if the person lives clos-
    10  er, and the  inmate  shall  request  that  such  family  members  submit
    11  letters.  Other  relevant  factors  shall  be  taken into consideration,
    12  including but not limited to, whether an inmate's family member  has  an

    13  undue  hardship  that  would  affect  the  person's ability to visit the
    14  inmate. Such hardship shall include, but not be limited to,  a  physical
    15  disability  or  serious  illness  that  inhibits travel, or whether they
    16  would not be able to reasonably visit the inmate because they  would  be
    17  unable  to  visit  by  public  transportation and cannot afford or use a
    18  motor vehicle.  Any action by the commissioner pursuant to this  section
    19  shall  be deemed a judicial function and shall not be reviewable if done
    20  in accordance with law.
    21    5. Inmates shall not be eligible for this program  for  a  variety  of
    22  factors,  as  listed  in,  but  not limited to, those enumerated in this
    23  section. Inmates who are incarcerated for  violating  parole  or  condi-

    24  tional  release  shall  be ineligible for this program. Inmates who were
    25  convicted of a sex offense shall be ineligible for this program. Inmates
    26  who have committed a crime against a child shall be ineligible for  this
    27  program. Inmates for whom a closer location would not lead to more visi-
    28  tors  shall  not  be eligible for this program. Inmates who have not had
    29  contact with their children in over a year out  of  their  own  volition
    30  shall  not  be  eligible  for this program, unless there is a compelling
    31  reason for not having had contact with their children. The  commissioner
    32  is  empowered  to  grant  preference to more involved inmate parents, as
    33  determined by the amount of contact that the children  have  with  their

    34  parents,  should  the commissioner determine to do so. Inmates who would
    35  ordinarily be sent to a stricter security level prison shall not, unless
    36  compelling reasons shall suggest otherwise, be sent to a lighter securi-
    37  ty prison because of proximity on the  basis  of  this  program.  Mental
    38  health issues shall not be an issue of ineligibility with regard to this
    39  program, unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
    40    §  4. This act shall take effect six months after it shall have become
    41  a law and shall expire 3 years after it shall take effect when upon such
    42  date the provisions of this act shall be  deemed  repealed.    Effective
    43  immediately,  the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regu-
    44  lation necessary for the implementation of this  act  on  its  effective

    45  date is authorized to be made on or before such date.
Go to top