Assemblywoman Joyner’s Bill to Help Families Gain Immediate Clarity over Inmate Deaths Heads to Governor’s Desk

BRONX – Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D-Bronx, 77th AD) announced passage of her legislation in the Senate that will provide faster notification of the next of kin in the event that a loved one passes behind bars. Assembly Bill A.7500 now heads to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law.

Assembly Bill A.7500 calls for New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to be responsive to an inmate’s next of kin or other designated person, who seeks additional information regarding the circumstances surrounding their passing. According to DOCCS, there were a total of 501 inmate deaths during the four year period from 2009-2012.

Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx, 33rd SD) previously introduced companion legislation (Senate Bill S.5427); it passed the Senate June 14. The Assembly unanimously approved the bill for the second straight year on March 28.

“With unanimous support from the Assembly and the Senate's passage this week, I am happy that my colleagues have recognized the rights of families and their loved ones behind bars. Every inmate is someone’s mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter. No one should have to wait 18 months before receiving details regarding the death of someone they care about that is in custody," said Assemblywoman Joyner. "This bill will help family members gain clarity by speeding up the process by which they obtain information, and make it easier to grieve the loss by offering some closure and details surrounding their passing.”

Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner represents the 77th Assembly District, which includes the Claremont, Concourse, High bridge, Mount Eden and Morris Heights sections of The Bronx. She is currently the Chair of the Subcommittee on Diversity in Law and a founding member of the Black, Puerto Rican, and Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus’ Women of Color Subcommittee. She also serves on the Assembly’s Aging, Consumer Affairs and Protection, Housing, Insurance, Judiciary and Social Services Committees. A champion for families, Assemblywoman Joyner has made her mark both in Albany and in the community on issues ranging from preserving affordable housing and ensuring quality education for all too protecting victims of domestic violence.