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.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2308A
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
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-
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-
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
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.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
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-
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.