LG: Advocates Demand Action on NYS Solitary Confinement Policy

NYAPRS Note: “The cell walls start wavering... everything in the cell starts moving; you feel that you are losing your vision”. “I overhear guards talking. Did they say that? Yes? No? It gets confusing. Am I losing my mind?” “you get sensitive to noise. The plumbing system... the water rushes through the pipes- it’s too loud, gets on your nerves. I can’t stand it.” “I can’t stand the smells of the food”. These are some of the horrific impacts of the use of solitary confinement, as collected by famed Harvard Professor Stuart Grassian in 1983. He shared findings that show that thousands who didn’t have psychiatric symptoms before they were placed in solitary confinement left with full blown conditions.

But thousands of people who are confined to terribly euphemistic ‘special housing units’ or SHUs came into prison or jail with serious mental health conditions and the results, causing untold suffering and sometimes suicide.  

That’s why NYAPRS members and staff joined with a broad array of prisoners’ rights and mental health advocacy groups to win passage of the SHU Exclusion Law in 2008.

But, while the law generated numerous improvements, almost 900 people with mental health conditions live in solitary confinements in NY right now.  

And that’s why we have been working closely with our colleagues from the Campaign for Alternatives to Solitary Confinement (http://nycaic.org/) and other groups to see HALT legislation approved in New York that would prohibit the segregation of young and elderly people, people with physical or mental disabilities, pregnant women, new mothers, LGBTQI individuals, place a limit of 15 consecutive days and a limit of 20 total days in a 60 day period on the amount of time any person can spend in segregated confinement and create new Residential Rehabilitation Units as a more humane and effective alternative to provide segregated confinement and one that provides meaningful human contact and therapeutic, trauma-informed, and rehabilitative programs.

Yesterday, advocates including NYAPRS’ Elena Kravitz joined around a SHU replica in the state’s Legislative Office Building to call on legislative leaders and the Governor to pass and sign HALT legislation, (A.3080B/S.4784A) sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry and Senator Kevin Parker (see video at http://cbs6albany.com/news/local/advocates-call-for-15-day-maximum-in-solitary-confinement.

NYAPRS will continue to work tirelessly until HALT legislation is approved and until a more humane New York provides treatment not torture to our neighbors and loved ones in need. Please join us and look for upcoming alerts and actions.

Legislators Join Prisoners, Families Hoping To Limit Solitary Confinement

By David Tregaskis, Legislative Gazette May 16, 2018

Lawmakers, survivors of solitary confinements and family members of prisoners are pushing for the enactment of the Human Alternative to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act to put an end to solitary confinement “torture.”

The HALT legislation, (A.3080B/S.4784A) sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, D-Corona, and Senator Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn, would limit the time an inmate can spend in segregated confinement.

The purpose of the bill is to, among other things, create more humane and effective alternatives to confinement and restrict the required criteria which can lead to solitary.

Assemblyman Aubry, the former Assembly Corrections chair, said that to make communities and prisons safer, the process of torturing people under the guidelines of punishment needs to end.

“Torture is not what we’re supposed to be about. We may want people to change their behavior, we may need to put people away from the rest of society in order to effect that change, but we do not need to torture them,” Aubry said. “We do not need to feed them the loaf, we do not need to put them in places where they fight for their sanity and that’s what the whole bill will do.”

The bill would also set provisions, like imposing a 15 consecutive day limit to solitary confinement or 20 days total in a 60 day time period, and prohibit the use of special diets as punishment.

Victor Pate, organizer for the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement and a former inmate who endured solitary confinement, notes that Colorado has implement a 15 day limit to solitary in its prisons and reduced the number of prisoners in solitary from 1,500 to 18.

“According to the U.N. General Assembly, the Mandela Rule states that no one shall be held in any long term solitary confinement past 15 days, and if that does happen, it is considered torture,” Pate said.

The replica solitary confinement cell was unveiled in the entrance Legislative Office Building on Wednesday at a press event with lawmakers, former prisoners, their families and other supporters. The were hoping passers-by, other lawmakers, and maybe even the governor would spend some time inside the cell to experience solitary confinement, even temporarily.

Jerome Wright, a former inmate who experienced solitary confinement, said he is challenging the governor and the commissioner of the Department of Corrections to spend 24 hours in the cell to see what solitary feels like.

Doug van Zandt, who built the replica cell, talked about his own son Benjamin who was charged with grand larceny and reckless endangerment and imprisoned. Benjamin, who was mentally ill, was placed in solitary confinement without treatment and committed suicide.

“The punitive measures used against him in prison, including solitary confinement were absolutely wrong, it was a cell just like this, that he spent the last minutes of his life,” van Zandt said. “He hanged himself after he was taken off his medications by the prison staff and he was left to rot in a cell like this.”

http://legislativegazette.com/legislators-join-prisoners-families-hoping-to-limit-solitary-confinement/  


Advocates Call For 15-Day Maximum In Solitary Confinement

by J.T. Fetch  CBS6 May 16th 2018

ALBANY, NY - There is a group calling for Governor Cuomo to go to prison... Not for any crime he committed, but to see just what those who are put in solitary confinement have to go through.

The lobby of the Legislative Office Building turned into a one cell prison today, to call for the passage of the Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act.

Supporters of the bill say this will reform the current system, where thousands remain in solitary in New York’s prisons 22 to even 24 hours a day with no real human contact.

Reform advocates say this leads to profound psychological and physical damage. they want a 15-day limit on solitary, and create humane alternatives.

They also want Governor Cuomo to spend 24 hours in solitary in one of the state’s prisons, so he can see for himself what it’s like.

“I was put in solitary confinement for 28 days - you have very little property in your cell, you don’t know what time it is. Anytime you leave the cell, you’re in handcuffs,” said Jeffrey Deskovic, who says he was wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years.

Supporters say they have data that shows more than 30% of all prison suicides in New York take place in solitary. Reforms have taken place already in Colorado, where there is a 15 day limit for solitary confinement.

http://cbs6albany.com/news/local/advocates-call-for-15-day-maximum-in-solitary-confinement

URGENT: Call Albany Today HALT Solitary Confinement

NYAPRS Alert: Help us stop the suffering thousands of New Yorkers endure each day. HALT Solitary Confinement for Vulnerable Groups in our State Prisons!               

 
NYAPRS LOGO.png
 

HALT Solitary Confinement for Vulnerable Groups in our State Prisons!

 
CallAlbany.jpg
 

Call Albany This Wednesday May 16!

  • Thousands of people remain in solitary confinement in NY prisons and jails each day: 22 to 24 hours a day in a cell without any meaningful human contact or programs, for months, years, and decades (30+ years) in NY.
  • Sensory deprivation, lack of normal interaction, and extreme idleness of solitary can lead to intense suffering and severe psychological and physical damage. More than 30% of all prison suicides in New York take place in solitary.
  • These individuals are disproportionately Black and Latino people, young people, gender non-conforming people, and people with mental illness.
  • The entire United Nations, including the US, passed rules prohibiting solitary beyond 15 days for any person, because it otherwise would amount to torture. States that have reduced the use of solitary have seen a positive impact on safety.
  • The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B / S.4784A) would include a 15-day limit on solitary, and create more humane and effective alternatives.

Help Us Advance Treatment Not Torture!

Make 5 Calls this Wednesday!

  1. Senate Leader John Flanagan at 518-455-2071
  2. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie at 518-455-3791
  3. Assembly Correction Committee Chair David Weprin at 518-455-5806
  4. Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee Chair Patrick Gallivan at 518-455-3471

and leave the following message:

“I’m a registered voter from (one’s locality) calling to urge you to support
HALT Solitary Confinement Act A.3080B / S.4784A)

#HALTsolitary confinement in New York

New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement

NYAPRS Posts 2018 Executive Seminar Presentations & Photos

NYAPRS Note: Thanks to our timely expert presenters and over 230 engaged and active attendees, this year’s NYAPRS Executive Seminar offered a much lauded examination of emerging strategies and partnerships that are working to address the multiple needs of New Yorkers who face the daily challenges of poverty, homelessness, social isolation, racism, avoidable repeat readmissions and incarcerations and advanced medical and behavioral health conditions and advanced medical and behavioral health conditions.

The program featured key national figures including the top behavioral health official in the land, new HHS Assistant Secretary Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, followed by some the nation’s leading consumer, family, rights, provider and community psychiatry advocates.

Below please find some of the presentations and selected photos of the event. We’ll be posting more at https://www.nyaprs.org/executive-seminar-2018.

NYAPRS Executive Seminar 2018.jpg

INNOVATIONS IN SERVICE DELIVERY: CREATING REAL STRATEGIES, OFFERING REAL SOLUTIONS
Donna ColonnaCEO, Services for the Underserved
Jeffrey McQueenDirector, MHA of Nassau County
Robert MyersSenior Deputy Commissioner & Division Director, Adult Services, State Hospitals and Manage Care, NYS OMH
Donna Lynn TaylorClinical Director, Personal Wellness Plan, (HARP), Healthfirst
Kate DavidsonAssistant Vice President for Policy & Advocacy, National  Council for Behavioral Health
Moderator: Jackie NegriPrincipal and Consultant, Negri Management Resources, LLC

NEW PARTNERSHIPS FOR PEER SERVICES
Amy ColesanteExecutive Director, MHEP
Peggy ElmerDirector, Health Home Policy and Program Development, New York State Department of Health
Ellen HealionCEO Hands Across Long Island
Carlton WhitmoreDirector, New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's Office of Consumer Affairs
Joseph WoodwardCEO, Housing Options Made Easy
Moderator: Harvey RosenthalExecutive Director, NYAPRS

DSRIP INITIATIVES THAT ADVANCE RECOVERY AND PEER SUPPORT
Peggy ChanDirector, DSRIP, NYS Department of Health
Terri CoyleDirector Outpatient Behavioral Health, St. John's Episcopal Hospital
Tyrone GarrettPeer Wellness Coach, NYAPRS
John JavisDirector of Behavioral Health, Nassau-Queens PPS
Steve MiccioCEO, PEOPLe, Inc.
Sharon MillerDirector of Social Work, Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital
Moderator: Harvey RosenthalExecutive Director, NYAPRS

ADVANCING THE SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH THROUGH HOME AND COMMUNITY BASED SERVICES
Elizabeth MisaDeputy Medicaid Director, NYS Department of Health
Nicole HaggertyDirector, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and Care Coordination, NYS OMH
Charles KingCEO, Housing Works, Inc.
Chris CopelandCOO, Institute for Community Living
Moderator: Kate BreslinPresident and CEO, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy

TAKING HEALTH INEQUITY HEAD ON
Chacku MathaiPresident and CEO, MHA of Rochester
Nancy Sung SheltonSenior Consultant for Cultural Competency and Health Literacy Team, Coordinated Care Services, Inc.
Brian SmedleyCo-Founder and Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity
Facilitator: Lenora Reid-RoseDirector, Cultural Competency & Diversity Initiatives, Coordinated Care Services, Inc.

Study: MH Self-Direction Shows Promising Results for Housing and Employment Outcomes

NYAPRS Note: A newly web posted study suggests that when people with more extensive mental health conditions are afforded a portion of public funds to advance their recovery, they are supported to make advances in their employment and independent housing goals.

Note the attachment that shows that the Florida based study participants used their funds to address transportation, employment and housing needs, as well as to purchase computers, dental care, dental care, therapy and psychiatric medications.

New York is currently operating two self-direction pilots at NYAPRS member agencies Independent Living and Community Access that are expected to position self-direction to become a Medicaid funded Home and Community Based Service here. NYAPRS has long been a very strong self-direction proponent; I’m very pleased to serve as the current Chair of the Mental Health Self-Direction National Advisory Committee.

Mental Health Self-Direction Shows Promising Results for Housing and Employment Outcomes

Contact: Bevin Croft, Human Services Research Institute  bcroft@hsri.org

Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 15, 2018 – Self-direction, or self-directed care, is a newer service delivery model for people with serious mental health conditions who use publicly funded services. In self-direction, people control a portion of funds normally spent on their treatment to purchase a range of goods and services to meet recovery goals within the context of their unique life circumstances. Purchases might include transportation, supports for housing, employment, or education, or even mental health treatment from a provider of the person’s choosing.

New research from the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) suggests that mental health self-direction can help support people to live and work in their communities. To explore the effects of self-direction on important functional outcomes like employment and housing, HSRI researchers and colleagues looked at approximately four years’ worth of data from the nation’s largest and longest-standing self-direction effort, FloridaSDC. They found that compared with nonparticipants, self-directing participants were more likely to improve, or maintain at high levels, engagement in paid work and independent housing.

“Self-direction is emerging as a promising model of mental health service delivery, and it aligns with the field’s growing focus on using individualized, person-centered care to effect recovery,” says Bevin Croft, Research Associate at HSRI and the study’s Principal Investigator. This research adds to a growing body of evidence that shows self-direction can help people achieve better outcomes.

The study, published online today in the journal Psychiatric Services, is part of a Demonstration and Evaluation of Self-Direction in Mental Health study that explores mental health self-direction in six states, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New York State Health Foundation with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) (www.hsri.org) is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization that works with government agencies and others to improve health and human services and systems, enhance the quality of data to guide policy, and engage stakeholders to effect meaningful systems change.


Housing and Employment Outcomes for Mental Health Self-Direction Participants

Bevin Croft, M.P.P., Ph.D., Nilüfer İsvan, Ph.D., Susan L. Parish, Ph.D., Kevin J. Mahoney, Ph.D.

https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201700057

Abstract

Objective:

In self-direction, participants control individual budgets, allocating service dollars according to needs and preferences within program parameters to meet self-defined recovery goals. Mental health self-direction is associated with enhanced wellness and recovery outcomes at lower or similar cost than traditional service arrangements. This study compared outcomes of housing independence and employment between individuals who participated in self-direction and those who did not.

Methods:

This quasi-experimental study involved administrative data from 271 self-directing participants. Using coarsened exact matching with observed demographic, diagnostic, and other characteristics, the authors constructed a comparison group of non–self-directing individuals (N=1,099). The likelihood of achieving positive outcomes between first and last assessments during the approximately four-year study period was compared for self-directing and non-self-directing individuals.

Results:

Self-directing participants were more likely than nonparticipants to increase days worked for pay or maintain days worked at 20 or more days in the past 30 days (number needed to treat [NNT]=18; small effect size) and maintain or attain independent housing (NNT=16; small effect size), when analyses controlled, to the extent possible, for observed individual characteristics.

Conclusions:

Based on data from the nation’s largest and longest-standing program of its kind, results suggest that mental health self-direction is associated with modest improvements or maintenance of positive outcomes in employment and housing independence. This research adds to the literature examining self-direction in the context of mental health and begins to fill the need for a greater understanding of self-direction’s relationship to outcomes of interest to service users and families, providers, and system administrators.

 Click Image to Download PDF

Click Image to Download PDF

Join Us: Replace Torture with Treatment in NYS Prisons !

NYAPRS Note: One of NYAPRS’ top issues this past session and decade has been to replace torture with treatment in NYS prisons for vulnerable groups, including people with mental health conditions. NYAPRS’ Elena Kravitz and Harvey Rosenthal will be on hand to support this Wednesday’s Albany action organized by our friends at the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement.

Call In Drive today - Wednesday!

 
 

Survivors of Solitary, Families, Advocates & Legislators to Unveil Replica

Solitary Confinement Cell & Call for Comprehensive Reform

Participants Will Also Urge Gov. Cuomo to Spend 24 Hours in a Real NYS Solitary Cell

and Place ‘Cardboard Cuomo’ in the Replica

Contacts: Jerome Wright, jwright@nyaic.org, (716) 909-2425  Jared Chausow, jchausow@gmail.com, (650) 814-0565

On Wednesday, May 16, at 9am, Survivors of solitary, family members, community members and legislators will hold a press conference unveiling a replica solitary confinement cell in the Legislative Office Building. They will reiterate their call for Governor Cuomo to spend 24 hours in solitary confinement in one of his prisons, as Rick Raemisch, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, did upon taking the job. Mr. Raemisch’s experiences ultimately helped inspire significant reforms in that state that are similar to the Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B / S.4784A). If Gov. Cuomo does not show up for even the replica cell, advocates will illustrate his absence by placing a life-size Cardboard Cuomo inside it. Participants will be urging the enactment of #HALTsolitary this session. The bill has more than 100 supporters in the Legislature and more than 180 organizational supporters across the state. If the Legislature will not act, Governor Cuomo must implement these changes administratively. Press and members of the public will have an opportunity to spend time in the replica cell to get a small glimpse into the horrible experience thousands of New Yorkers endure each day.

WHERE: In the entrance to the lobby of the NYS Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY.

WHO: Speakers will include:

  • Doug van Zandt, Organizer for CAIC’s #HALTsolitary campaign, constructor of replica cell, and father of Benjamin van Zandt, who lost his life in solitary in a New York prison;
  • Victor Pate, Organizer for CAIC’s #HALTsolitary campaign & solitary confinement survivor;
  • Cynthia Williams, Organizer for CAIC’s #HALTsolitary campaign, & incarceration survivor;
  • Jerome Wright, Organizer for CAIC’s #HALTsolitary campaign and solitary survivor;
  • Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry (Assembly lead sponsor of #HALTsolitary)
  • Senator Kevin Parker (Senate lead sponsor of #HALTsolitary)
  • Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon
  • Assembly Member Dan Quart
  • Senator Gustavo Rivera

VISUALS: There will be full-scale a replica solitary confinement cell for press and the public to see, go inside, and experience, a cardboard cutout of Governor Cuomo, a video recording of Commissioner Annucci’s callous remarks when asked to spend a day in solitary, banners and signs.

BACKGROUND: Thousands of people remain in solitary confinement in NY prisons and jails each day: 22 to 24 hours a day in a cell without any meaningful human contact or programs. These individuals are disproportionately Black and Latinx people, young people, gender non-conforming people, and people with mental illness. People continue to spend months, years, and decades in solitary (30+ years) in NY. The sensory deprivation, lack of normal interaction, and extreme idleness of solitary can lead to intense suffering and severe psychological and physical damage. More than 30% of all prison suicides in New York take place in solitary. The entire United Nations, including the US, passed rules prohibiting solitary beyond 15 days for any person, because it otherwise would amount to torture. Colorado has implemented a 15-day limit in its prisons and reduced the number of people in solitary from 1,500 to 18.  The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B / S.4784A) would similarly include a 15-day limit on solitary, and would create more humane and effective alternatives.  States that have reduced the use of solitary have seen a positive impact on safety. Community members are calling for NYS Legislators and Governor Cuomo to pass HALT.

Learn more at www.nycaic.org.

CAIC is also part of a collective of campaigns, coalitions, and organizations that are pushing for a platform of policy changes to the system of incarceration in New York, including parole, bail, discovery, speedy trial, and sentencing reform; closing Rikers and Attica; restoring voting rights and college access to incarcerated people; protecting domestic violence survivors from predatory sentences; and promoting racial justice through reparations and a truth, justice, and reconciliation commission.

 

P/T Community Outreach Positions in the Hudson Valley available with NYAPRS

NYAPRS News: The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) works to improve services, social conditions and public policies to promote the recovery, rehabilitation, rights and full community inclusion of people with behavioral health and/or trauma-related conditions in New York and nationally. NYAPRS is looking to hire Outreach Specialists for its New Choices program. Learn more about us at www.nyaprs.org

NYAPRS Looking to Hire Outreach Specialists 

NYAPRS currently seeks to fill the following positions:

‘New Choices’ Part Time Community Outreach Specialists in Central NY, North Country and Hudson Valley

NYAPRS is currently working to educate eligible Medicaid beneficiaries with behavioral health conditions about new changes and choices within the Medicaid Program and has new openings for 3 part time regional Community Outreach Specialist positions in Central NY, the North Country and the Hudson Valley.

Community Outreach Specialists engage and educate eligible individuals and groups in the community about newly available choices within the state’s Medicaid program, including Health and Recovery Plans, Health Homes and Home and Community Based Services. They must be able to engage individuals from a variety of backgrounds in a variety of settings, have lived experience of recovery and of NYS mental health and addiction services. Spanish proficiency a plus. Candidates must be able to track and log in documentation regarding their work activities; have a device capable of running MS Outlook, Excel and Word; have a vehicle, clean driving record, and adequate automobile insurance coverage.

These positions require a flexible schedule that may include some evening and weekend work for 15 hours a week at $15.00 per hour.

Candidates for these positions should submit a cover letter and resume to hr1@nyaprs.org and lens@nyaprs.org

NYAPRS is an equal opportunity employer

Reminder: Apply for SAMHSA's Recognition of Excellence in Wellness

NYAPRS News: Through SAMHSA's Program to Achieve Wellness, organizations and communities will be recognized for their exemplary wellness efforts that improve the health and wellness of those living with mental illness and/or substance use disorders through the Recognition of Excellence in Wellness (the Recognition). Submit your application now! Please note: All applications are now due by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, June 22, 2018. https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/wellness_initiative/2018-recognition-solicitation.pdf

 
 

Applications for SAMHSA's Recognition of Excellence in Wellness are Now Due on June 22

Announced on February 21, 2018, SAMHSA’s Recognition of Excellence in Wellness recognizes organizations and communities for their exemplary wellness efforts that improve the health and wellness of those living with mental illness and/or substance use disorders.  

If your organization works to improve the health of individuals with mental and/or substance use disorders, we encourage you to apply for the 2018 Recognition of Excellence in Wellness!

Apply Today!

To learn more about the Recognition of Excellence in Wellness, stream our past honoree announcement webinars!

2017 Webinar

Featuring:

  • Institute for Community Living's "Lift All Boats" Integrated Care Initiative, NY
  • Mental Health Resources' ReThink Tobacco, MN
  • Sheppard Pratt Health System's Smoking Cessation Program, MD

2016 Webinar

Featuring:

  • The Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania's Behavioral Health Home Plus, PA
  • The University of Arizona RISE Health and Wellness Center's Camp Wellness, AZ
  • Consumers Helping Others Improve their Condition by Ending Smoking (CHOICES), NJ

Urgent: Call Albany To HALT Solitary Confinement

NYAPRS ALERT: Stop the Suffering!                   

 
NYAPRS LOGO.png
 

HALT Solitary Confinement for Vulnerable Groups in our State Prisons!

 
CallAlbany.jpg
 

Call Albany This Wednesday May 16!

  • Thousands of people remain in solitary confinement in NY prisons and jails each day: 22 to 24 hours a day in a cell without any meaningful human contact or programs, for months, years, and decades (30+ years) in NY.
  • Sensory deprivation, lack of normal interaction, and extreme idleness of solitary can lead to intense suffering and severe psychological and physical damage. More than 30% of all prison suicides in New York take place in solitary.
  • These individuals are disproportionately Black and Latino people, young people, gender non-conforming people, and people with mental illness.
  • The entire United Nations, including the US, passed rules prohibiting solitary beyond 15 days for any person, because it otherwise would amount to torture. States that have reduced the use of solitary have seen a positive impact on safety.
  • The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B / S.4784A) would include a 15-day limit on solitary, and create more humane and effective alternatives.

Help Us Advance Treatment Not Torture!

Make 5 Calls this Wednesday!

  1. Senate Leader John Flanagan at 518-455-2071
  2. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie at 518-455-3791
  3. Assembly Correction Committee Chair David Weprin at 518-455-5806
  4. Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee Chair Patrick Gallivan at 518-455-3471

and leave the following message:

“I’m a registered voter from (one’s locality) calling to urge you to support
HALT Solitary Confinement Act A.3080B / S.4784A)

#HALTsolitary confinement in New York

New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement

Wednesday: Advocates Unveil Replica Solitary Confinement Cell, Call for Prison Reform

NYAPRS Note: One of NYAPRS’ top issues this past session and decade has been to replace torture with treatment in NYS prisons for vulnerable groups, including people with mental health conditions. NYAPRS’ Elena Kravitz and Harvey Rosenthal will be on hand to support this Wednesday’s Albany action organized by our friends at the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement.

Look next for Elena’s flyer urging you to support this effort with a Call In Drive this Wednesday!

 
 

Survivors of Solitary, Families, Advocates & Legislators to Unveil Replica

Solitary Confinement Cell & Call for Comprehensive Reform

Participants Will Also Urge Gov. Cuomo to Spend 24 Hours in a Real NYS Solitary Cell

and Place ‘Cardboard Cuomo’ in the Replica

Contacts: Jerome Wright, jwright@nyaic.org, (716) 909-2425  Jared Chausow, jchausow@gmail.com, (650) 814-0565

On Wednesday, May 16, at 9am, Survivors of solitary, family members, community members and legislators will hold a press conference unveiling a replica solitary confinement cell in the Legislative Office Building. They will reiterate their call for Governor Cuomo to spend 24 hours in solitary confinement in one of his prisons, as Rick Raemisch, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, did upon taking the job. Mr. Raemisch’s experiences ultimately helped inspire significant reforms in that state that are similar to the Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B / S.4784A). If Gov. Cuomo does not show up for even the replica cell, advocates will illustrate his absence by placing a life-size Cardboard Cuomo inside it. Participants will be urging the enactment of #HALTsolitary this session. The bill has more than 100 supporters in the Legislature and more than 180 organizational supporters across the state. If the Legislature will not act, Governor Cuomo must implement these changes administratively. Press and members of the public will have an opportunity to spend time in the replica cell to get a small glimpse into the horrible experience thousands of New Yorkers endure each day.

WHERE: In the entrance to the lobby of the NYS Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY.

WHO: Speakers will include:

  • Doug van Zandt, Organizer for CAIC’s #HALTsolitary campaign, constructor of replica cell, and father of Benjamin van Zandt, who lost his life in solitary in a New York prison;
  • Victor Pate, Organizer for CAIC’s #HALTsolitary campaign & solitary confinement survivor;
  • Cynthia Williams, Organizer for CAIC’s #HALTsolitary campaign, & incarceration survivor;
  • Jerome Wright, Organizer for CAIC’s #HALTsolitary campaign and solitary survivor;
  • Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry (Assembly lead sponsor of #HALTsolitary)
  • Senator Kevin Parker (Senate lead sponsor of #HALTsolitary)
  • Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon
  • Assembly Member Dan Quart
  • Senator Gustavo Rivera

VISUALS: There will be full-scale a replica solitary confinement cell for press and the public to see, go inside, and experience, a cardboard cutout of Governor Cuomo, a video recording of Commissioner Annucci’s callous remarks when asked to spend a day in solitary, banners and signs.

BACKGROUND: Thousands of people remain in solitary confinement in NY prisons and jails each day: 22 to 24 hours a day in a cell without any meaningful human contact or programs. These individuals are disproportionately Black and Latinx people, young people, gender non-conforming people, and people with mental illness. People continue to spend months, years, and decades in solitary (30+ years) in NY. The sensory deprivation, lack of normal interaction, and extreme idleness of solitary can lead to intense suffering and severe psychological and physical damage. More than 30% of all prison suicides in New York take place in solitary. The entire United Nations, including the US, passed rules prohibiting solitary beyond 15 days for any person, because it otherwise would amount to torture. Colorado has implemented a 15-day limit in its prisons and reduced the number of people in solitary from 1,500 to 18.  The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B / S.4784A) would similarly include a 15-day limit on solitary, and would create more humane and effective alternatives.  States that have reduced the use of solitary have seen a positive impact on safety. Community members are calling for NYS Legislators and Governor Cuomo to pass HALT.

Learn more at www.nycaic.org.

CAIC is also part of a collective of campaigns, coalitions, and organizations that are pushing for a platform of policy changes to the system of incarceration in New York, including parole, bail, discovery, speedy trial, and sentencing reform; closing Rikers and Attica; restoring voting rights and college access to incarcerated people; protecting domestic violence survivors from predatory sentences; and promoting racial justice through reparations and a truth, justice, and reconciliation commission.

 

Importance: High: Subject: TRAINING ANNOUNCEMENT - NYESS Master Training - TTW - Work Incentives Navigator

NYAPRS News: Attn: Adult BH HCBS Designated Providers – Employment and Education Services

Please see the below announcement regarding trainings on NYESS and Ticket to Work. These in-person trainings may be of particular interest to supported employment and education specialists who are supporting members with work goals.

From: NYESS [mailto:NYESS-L@LISTSERV.OMH.NY.GOV] On Behalf Of Karhan, Andrew (OMH)
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018 3:50 PM
To: NYESS-L@LISTSERV.OMH.NY.GOV
Subject: TRAINING ANNOUNCEMENT - NYESS Master Training - TTW - Work Incentives Navigator
Importance: High

Good Afternoon,

We are pleased to announce a series of NYESS Master Training sessions that will be available in the coming months, as well as some specific training on Ticket to Work and the NEW Work Incentives Navigator.   We are asking that you complete your registration for these trainings online.  Please click on the link below, select the date and time you plan to attend the training, and you will be prompted to put in your registration information:  https://a.flexbooker.com/widget/36c81dfd-01a9-449f-8995-9e439de9e0f2

The available dates, times, and locations, as well as training titles are listed below:

Long Island *Two Part Training*

June 18th – 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.  *TTW – Work Incentives Navigator - How to Maximize Your Earnings

Family Residences & Essential Enterprises, Inc.

191 Bethpage-Sweet Hollow Road

Old Bethpage, NY  11804

June 19th – 9 a.m. – 12 a.m.  *NYESS Master Training

Family Residences & Essential Enterprises, Inc.

191 Bethpage-Sweet Hollow Road

Old Bethpage, NY  11804

Albany NYESS Master Training July 12th – 9a.m. – 1p.m.

Office of Mental Health

44 Holland Ave – 1st FL – CIT Room

Albany, NY 12229

Albany NYESS Master Training August 21st  – 9am – 1pm

Office of Mental Health

44 Holland Ave – 1st FL – CIT Room

Albany, NY 12229

Manhattan NYESS Master Training June 18th  – 9:30am – 1:30pm

Office of Mental Health

330 5th Ave – 9th FL – Conference Room A

New York, NY

New York City  – *Two Part Training*

September 26th  – 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   *TTW – Work Incentives Navigator - How to Maximize Your Earnings

Office of Mental Health

330 5th Ave – 9th FL – Conference Room A

New York, NY

September 27th  – 9:30am – 1:30pm *NYESS Master Training

Office of Mental Health

330 5th Ave – 9th FL – Conference Room A

New York, NY


Please let us know if you have questions.

Andrew Karhan

Director of Employment Policy, NYESS

Project Director, PROMISE

Office of Mental Health

44 Holland Avenue, 8th Floor, Albany, New York 12229

(518) 474-9892 | andrew.karhan@omh.ny.gov

www.omh.ny.gov