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A07589 Summary:

COSPNSRCruz, Epstein, Rosenthal L, Sayegh, Aubry, Simon
Add §138-b, Cor L
Requires the department of corrections and community supervision to create a family reunion program to provide eligible inmates and their families the opportunity to meet for an extended period of time in a residential setting.
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A07589 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                      May 17, 2021
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  WEPRIN, CRUZ, EPSTEIN, L. ROSENTHAL, SAYEGH,
          AUBRY, SIMON -- read once and referred to the Committee on Correction
        AN ACT to amend the correction law,  in  relation  to  establishing  the
          family reunion program
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The correction law is amended by adding a new section 138-b
     2  to read as follows:
     3    § 138-b. Family reunion program. 1.  The  department  shall  create  a
     4  family  reunion  program  to provide eligible inmates and their families
     5  the opportunity to meet for an extended period of time in privacy  in  a
     6  residential  setting.  Such  program shall be available at every general
     7  confinement maximum-security state  correctional  facility  and  at  any
     8  medium-security  state  correctional facility with a general confinement
     9  inmate population capacity of over eight hundred beds.  Program  facili-
    10  ties  and  administration  may  be shared among correctional facilities.
    11  Smaller medium facilities located near maximum  security  facilities  or
    12  large  medium security facilities may be permitted to participate in the
    13  program at such facilities. Family reunion programs shall contain enough
    14  housing units to accommodate family reunion program visits at least  one
    15  time every four months for eligible inmates.
    16    2.  Inmates  who  maintain a good disciplinary record, who comply with
    17  departmental program requirements and who do not pose a  current  danger
    18  pursuant  to subdivision four of this section shall be eligible to apply
    19  for participation in the family reunion  program.  A  good  disciplinary
    20  record shall mean the inmate has not resided in a segregated confinement
    21  unit  or  in  keep  lock for a sanction for misbehavior for over fifteen
    22  days within the last six months prior to the visit. An  inmate  who  has
    23  not maintained a good disciplinary record may reapply for family reunion
    24  program  participation  six  months after being released from segregated
    25  confinement or keep lock. Inmates who are denied  participation  in  the
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 7589                             2
     1  program may appeal to the commissioner. Once an inmate has been approved
     2  for  participation in the family reunion program, he or she shall remain
     3  eligible to participate unless such eligibility is taken  away  for  bad
     4  conduct,  failure  to  comply  with departmental program requirements or
     5  because he or she has been determined to pose a current danger  to  self
     6  or  others pursuant to subdivision four of this section. If an inmate is
     7  transferred to a new facility, his or her  eligibility  for  the  family
     8  reunion  program  will  continue  and  such  inmate shall be eligible to
     9  participate in the family reunion program at such  new  facility  thirty
    10  days after arrival.
    11    3.  (a)  Applications  for participation in the family reunion program
    12  may be made for the following family  members  who  have  established  a
    13  pattern  of  visitation,  as  defined by three visits in the last twelve
    14  months unless such family member lives out of state, is disabled, elder-
    15  ly or a minor, or lives more than three hundred miles from the  facility
    16  where  the inmate is housed. In such cases, the visitor shall be allowed
    17  to participate in the family  reunion  program  without  establishing  a
    18  recent  pattern  of  visitation  if he or she is otherwise eligible. The
    19  department shall provide reasonable accommodations for disabled visitors
    20  and inmates upon request. The number of visitors at any one  time  shall
    21  be limited to the occupancy capacity of the family reunion program unit,
    22  as  determined  by  the  fire and safety official with jurisdiction over
    23  such units. The following family members may  be  eligible  for  partic-
    24  ipation in the program:
    25    (i) legal spouses, including a spouse who marries an inmate during the
    26  term of his or her incarceration;
    27    (ii)  children  or step-children of the inmate, who may be accompanied
    28  by their non-incarcerated parent;
    29    (iii) parents or step-parents of the inmate;
    30    (iv) grandparents;
    31    (v) siblings;
    32    (vi) grandchildren of the inmate; and
    33    (vii) with special approval from the facility  superintendent,  aunts,
    34  uncles, cousins, foster parents and in-laws of the inmate, with proof of
    35  relationship.
    36    (b)  An  eligible  visitor  may  lose  eligibility  if he or she is in
    37  violation of a serious rule or regulation of the program, as  determined
    38  by  the  commissioner.  Any  visitor who loses his or her eligibility to
    39  participate in the program shall be granted due  process  and  shall  be
    40  eligible to participate in the program after a reasonable waiting period
    41  unless  he  or  she  has been convicted of a crime related to his or her
    42  participation in the program.
    43    4. Inmates who pose a current danger to themselves or  others  may  be
    44  denied  family reunion program visitation. Such denial must be made on a
    45  case-by-case basis at the time visitation is sought and shall be made in
    46  writing, with a copy to the inmate and to  the  proposed  visitor.  When
    47  such  danger  has passed, the inmate shall again be eligible for partic-
    48  ipation in the program unless he or she has failed to  maintain  a  good
    49  disciplinary  record or to comply with the department's program require-
    50  ments.  Inmates who test positive for human  immunodeficiency  virus  or
    51  hepatitis  B  or C, may participate in the program with informed consent
    52  of the visitor or visitors.
    53    § 2. This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become  a
    54  law.
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