NYS Mental Health Advocates Join the Push for Solitary Reform Bill Passage in Albany

NYAPRS Note: Yesterday, representatives of NYS mental health advocacy groups joined the dedicated members of the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement in a 'HALT Mental Health Advocacy Day' push for prompt passage of the  HALT Bill, the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act (A.2500 / S.1623). 

A Capital news conference featured remarks from several CAIC members along with bill co-sponsors Senator David Carlucci and Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee (see photos below thanks to the Association for Community Living. 

Great thanks to our colleagues at the National Alliance on Mental Illness-NYS, New York State Coalition for Children's Behavioral Health, Association of Community Living, Families Together in NYS and the Mental Health Association in NYS for coming out to show strong support for this landmark measure. 

There are more than enough co-sponsors in both houses to pass the measure today. Advocates are calling on both houses to move the bill forward to the Governor Cuomo and for his prompt approval!

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.