Assemblyman Mark Walczyk (R,C,I-Watertown) announced Wednesday that he is sponsoring legislation to end a new law known as HALT(Humane Alternatives for Long Term Solitary Confinement Act ) that has endangered the lives and safety of correction officers since it took effect in April 2022.
According to data collected by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), inmate-on-inmate assaults are up by more than 41 percent, and inmate-on-staff assaults are up more than 31.3 percent since HALT’s implementation, with at least one homicide directly linked to the new policy. That’s 432 additional assaults on staff alone.
“The violence demonstrated in these numbers is shocking, but what I’d like downstate politicians and special interests to remember is that these numbers reflect real people – men and women in communities all across our great state, and particularly in the Front Yard of America. This policy, HALT, endangers their lives and puts them unnecessarily at risk in a job that’s already very tough to do,” said Walczyk.
Walczyk is working with his colleague, Assemblyman Matt Simpson (R,C,I-Horicon), on new legislation that would completely repeal HALT (A.10593). The bill has been referred to the Assembly Corrections Committee, which Walczyk serves as a member of.
An ardent advocate for correction officers, Walczyk voted against the original proposal when it came before the full Assembly back on March 16, 2021 (A.2277). It has been widely panned by public safety officials, including the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (NYSCOPBA).
“We should be thanking our correction officers for doing their jobs, not making it harder for them or putting them in danger,” said Walczyk. “The safety of everyone, particularly staff, should be the priority in a prison setting. This is a bad, dangerous policy, and I am working to repeal it.”