Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I-Schoharie) today joined Assemblyman Matt Simpson (R,C,I-Horicon) and other Minority lawmakers and officials from the New York State Correction Officers Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) in demanding the repeal of the HALT Act, a law that places restrictions on the ability of correction officers to hold dangerous incarcerated individuals in solitary confinement.
Since the bill’s enactment in early April, reports of increasing violence against prison staff have emerged, with many correction officers stating that incarcerated individuals have taken advantage of the bill’s protections to evade consequences they would otherwise face for misconduct. As a result of this legislation, members of prison staff have stated they are no longer effectively able to separate incarcerated individuals within their facilities, which increases the potential for fighting and gang activity. In general, there is great concern that by limiting the options correction officers can utilize to control dangerous incarcerated individuals, they will feel more empowered than ever to act violently with impunity.
“Working as a correction officer is already an incredibly dangerous job, and the HALT Act makes our prisons less safe, both for them and incarcerated individuals,” said Tague. “The separation of incarcerated individuals prevents fighting, stifles the formation of prison gangs, and provides correction officers with an important tool they need to deter violence by empowering them to correct behavior that threatens the safety of others. We need to repeal the HALT Act now, before the danger it poses to those working in our prisons materializes into tragedy.”