Assemblyman Jones’ Bill Prohibiting Double-Bunking in Correctional Facilities Signed into Law

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) announced that a bill he sponsored and passed prohibiting double-bunked housing in correctional facilities has been signed into law (Ch. 570 of 2021). The legislation will help combat overcrowding in state prisons and keep officers and inmates safe.

“Double-bunking is an outdated and dangerous practice that has absolutely no place in our current prison system,” Jones said. “For 20 years, I worked as a corrections officer and experienced firsthand the stress and painstaking hard work this job entails. Since I was elected, I have been working to end double bunking in medium-secured dormitories at correctional facilities and I am pleased that Governor Hochul has signed this bill into law. It’s critical that we prioritize their safety and well-being, as well as that of inmates and other prison staff, and do everything we can to ensure our correctional facilities are as safe as possible. So many people across the North Country will be safer at their jobs now that double bunking is ending in medium-secured facilities, and I am proud that my bill was finally passed and signed by the Governor.”

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) began forcing inmates to be double-bunked decades ago when the state had to increase the capacity of its prison system. Jones’ legislation eliminates this practice and permanently prohibits the use of double-bunked housing in correctional facilities across the state. As the state continues to consider closing more prisons, the passage of this law is crucial to address the issue of overcrowding and limit the number of inmates our officers must supervise at a time, Jones noted. As a former correction officer, Jones continues to work on initiatives to make sure correction officers, civilian staff and all the hardworking men and women employed in these facilities are safe.