25 Dec Board of Correction Votes to Approve Commish Joseph Ponte’s Aggressively Regressive Raft of Rule Changes to the Department of Corrections Charter After Significant Revisions at the Urging of JAC and other Advocates
From JJ: “Congrats to everyone in JAC for their hard work opposing the rollback of visit rights, packages, ESHU due process, and solitary confinement. We didn’t win everything, but we put up a strong fight and pushed the Board to revise the rule significantly.”
Here is a link to the final rule that was adopted by a vote of 6 to 2 on December 16, 2015 (Only Board Members Dr. Bobby Cohen and Hon. Bryanne Hamill voted against it): https://rules.cityofnewyork.us/content/amendment-certain-minimum-standards-city-correctional-facilities-0
The Board also adopted two variances which are posted on the BOC website:
COVERAGE OF THE BOC VOTE on DECEMBER 16, 2015:
Department of Correction seeks to delay young adult housing plan By Colby Hamilton and Gloria Pazmino 6:20 p.m. | Dec. 15, 2015
“Joseph Ponte, the city’s correction commissioner, is asking the Board of Correction for more time in removing 18- to 21-year-old inmates from the general population. The commissioner’s request would push back the deadline for the implementation of standards set by the board by another six months. (The board monitors conditions in city jails and reviews the performance of the Department of Correction.) The request comes after Ponte’s agency submitted a plan last summer to move younger inmates out of the general population.”
Board of Correction expected to approve Rikers rule changes By Gloria Pazmino and Colby Hamilton 5:05 a.m. | Dec. 16, 2015
“The final rule package has been thoroughly revised to include the concerns of board members and jail advocates who said the new visitation policy would be too harsh and not beneficial to inmates who the depend on emotional support from their families.The new rules will allow visitors and inmates to hold hands throughout the duration of the visit and inmates will be permitted to hold children ages 14 and younger in their families during the visit.In addition, inmates will also be allowed to briefly hug and kiss visitors both at the beginning and the end of the visit. Instead of installing a plexiglass divider, the department will allow them to hold hands over a partition no taller than six inches. “These changes are intended to limit the opportunities to pass weapon and drug contraband during visits, while continuing to ensure that important contact between inmates and visitors may still occur,” the board wrote in a preliminary ruling published on its website.
Ponte’s proposal was also revised to remove a request from the department that would have allowed the agency to deny visits to inmates based on the visitor’s criminal record. Instead, the department will be able to revoke visitation rights for an inmate only if the visitor poses a threat to the safety and security of the jail based on any infraction committed during visits. The board goes on to say that visitation rights may not be denied to an inmate based on a visitor’s criminal record, pending criminal or civil case, lack of family relationship, political beliefs and other qualifications as already outlined in the city’s Human Rights Law.
The board, which is in part appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and monitors conditions in city jails, also is expected to approve a change that will allow the department to sentence inmates who have committed a serious assault on staff to up to 60 days in punitive segregation without providing them a seven-day break after the first 30 days, as is required with other punitive segregation sentences.”
You can view the video of the December 16 Board meeting here: