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Mental Health Update

May 31, 2019
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 5/31/19 – Time to Pass Legislation that will Ban Solitary Confinement for Individuals with Serious Mental Health Issues

We greatly appreciate Senator Carlucci and Assembly member Jaffee for their strong support of the HALT legislation.

For individuals with mental health issues in correctional facilities, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, trauma and depression are only exacerbated by solitary confinement.  In  2019 in the  most progressive State in the nation, we shouldn’t have to resort to solitary confinement as a punitive response. This proposed legislation not only gets rid of solitary confinement for people with mental health issues and other categories of individuals but the bill also addresses humane alternative responses that serve to provide rehabilitation and not continued isolation. We need to pass S 1623 and A2500.

Want to acknowledge the selfless leadership of the members of the HALT team who spend every waking moment on this issue and also want to thank Harvey Rosenthal for his leadership in putting yesterday’s media event together.

Advocates: Solitary Bill has Votes Needed for Passage
By Emilie Ruscoe  Politico  May 30, 2019

Lawmakers seeking to limit the use of solitary confinement in New York state prisons say they believe their bill, NY S1623 (19R) / NY A2500 (19R), has the support necessary for passage in both houses of the Legislature.

It has passed committee in the Senate and could be scheduled for a floor vote at any time, and would still need to be reported out of committee in the Assembly.

With few session days remaining, advocates are hopeful the bill will garner support from legislative leadership and pass both houses.

“What we’ve seen is that solitary confinement just doesn’t work,” said state Sen. David Carlucci (D-Clarkstown), the chairman of the chamber’s Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities and a co-sponsor of the bill, at a press conference today. “It doesn’t work for the long term.”

The union representing state corrections officers opposes the bill. New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association President Mike Powers said that members want time to properly assess the impact of changes to the administration of special housing units that were put in place in prisons following a settlement with the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“We need a full accounting of how exactly that has impacted our correctional facilities before any additional restrictions are implemented,” he said.