PROPOSED RULES

PROPOSED RULE CHANGES TO BE VOTED ON BY THE NYC BOARD OF CORRECTION:

Full Detail can be found Here on the Board of Correction’s Website:

 

 

The City wants to make changes to Jail Minimum Standards that govern the use of SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, VISITS, and PACKAGES. These changes will make conditions harsher for people who are incarcerated in NYC jails, their families and friends. They will overwhelmingly impact Black and Latino families and communities, and poor people who can’t afford bail.

 

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT:

  • In January 2015, the NYC Board of Correction passed new Jail Minimum Standards limiting the use of solitary confinement – “punitive segregation” – in NYC jails. These recently passed rules limited the maximum time any incarcerated person can be sentenced to solitary confinement to 30 days for any single infraction, and 30 consecutive days overall, with 7 days out before the person may be returned to solitary confinement. In addition, the new rules prohibit anyone being held in solitary confinement for more than 60 days within a six-month period unless the person continues to engage in “persistent acts of violence” that can’t be addressed by placement in an enhanced supervision housing unit.
  • The Department of Correction (DOC) wants to rollback these reforms by increasing the sentence for assaulting staff to 60 days and removing the requirement for a 7-day respite period after a person has served 30 consecutive days of solitary confinement.
  • The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has determined that anything more than 15 days of solitary confinement constitutes torture. The psychological and physical damage to individuals isolated in a cell for 22 to 24 hours a day is well-established. Subjecting incarcerated people to more torturous days of solitary confinement will not create safer jails, but rather will likely lead to increased violence. DOC must implement a humane disciplinary system that provides incentives for positive behavior and establishes alternative sanctions that provide for jail safety while offering a therapeutic response to aggressive behavior.

The Board must not allow DOC to continue to rely on solitary confinement as a sanction for misconduct. Instead, the Board should enact tougher restrictions on its use.

 

VISITS

  • DOC wants to impose severe limitations on the ability of children, family, and friends to have meaningful physical contact with loved ones awaiting trial or serving a short sentence in NYC jails. The proposed rules permit DOC to deny visits based on vague criteria about the dangerousness of the incarcerated person and their visitors. They allow DOC to conduct broad investigations of visitors, including criminal record checks, and to make decisions about who is a family member and what constitutes a close or intimate relationship. Allowing DOC such wide discretion would affect many people including LGBT individuals and survivors of intimate partner violence. Over-policing and criminalization of communities of color increase the likelihood that criminal records will be used to restrict or prohibit family members from visiting their incarcerated loved ones.
  • The proposed measures require that appeals of visit restrictions go first to DOC rather than immediately to the Board of Correction. The proposed change increases the time frame for the appeals process and unnecessarily includes DOC, which has a long history of violating visit rules. Appeals about visit restrictions should continue to go directly to the Board of Correction for speedy resolution.
  • DOC claims that these limitations are needed to reduce violence and stop contraband from entering the jails. Yet they present no evidence that the proposed limitations would accomplish these goals. The vast majority of violent incidents in the NYC jails do not involve smuggled contraband. The plan to impose new restrictions on visits as a violence reduction measure inappropriately shifts the blame for violence in the jails away from correction officers and their powerful union. The fact is that there is a lack of a connection between visit restrictions, violence reduction, and reduction in contraband in the jails. Visitors support the mental health of those who are incarcerated , provide important community connections, and facilitate successful reentry.
  • The City should be working to improve visiting in the jails by reducing the waiting time for visitors; improving equipment used to conduct searches and thereby eliminating unnecessary pat frisks; communicating visit policies and procedures clearly; assigning sufficient, trained, steady staff to visit areas; and providing appropriate space for visitors including children.
  • The Board must reject DOC’s proposed rules; require DOC to revamp its arduous and demeaning visit process; and create rules that encourage visits and sustain family and community ties known to reduce recidivism and improve reentry outcomes.

 

PACKAGES

  • DOC wants to prohibit people in NYC jails from receiving packages, except for court clothes, unless the items are purchased from an approved vendor. Family and friends will not be able to provide reading material and other property without purchasing it new and paying for shipping. Having to repurchase what could be delivered from home will be a financial hardship for many.
  • There is no evidence that incoming packages are a significant source of weapons that cannot be detected by DOC searches. The proposed restrictions on packages are unlikely to reduce violence but will be an extreme, unnecessary hardship for incarcerated individuals (most of whom are pre-trial detainees who are incarcerated due to their inability to pay bail) and their families and friends AND GIVE CORRECTION OFFICERS ANOTHER TOOL TO USE TO COERCE, TORTURE, LEVY POWER OVER, SEXUALLY ABUSE, DENEGRATE, ENSLAVE AND CONTROL THE INMATE POPULATION ON RIKERS.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

The Board of Correction is responsible for establishing Jail Minimum Standards and will decide whether to make the rule changes DOC wants. The Board must not allow its rules which are supposed to provide protections for incarcerated people to be eroded. The Board should be part of improving conditions for incarcerated people, not endorsing policies that make it easier for DOC to ignore the basic needs and humanity of the people in its custody.

The Board will have a PUBLIC HEARING about the proposed rule changes on October 16, 2015 at 1 p.m. at 455 1st Avenue, Ground floor auditorium, New York, NY 10016.

Voice your opposition to the proposed changes – Testify at the October 16 hearing and/or send written comments to the Board at 1 Centre Street, Room 2213, New York, NY 10007 or to BOC@BOC.nyc.gov. To speak at the hearing, sign up in advance by calling 212-669-7900 or show up by 1 p.m. on October 16.

Pack the hearing – Show the Board that New Yorkers care about people in jail and their families!

Sign on to JAC’s statement opposing these harsh new limits on proposed rules – For more information, contact JAC at 646-459-3067 or nycjailsactioncoalition@gmail.com or go to www.nycjac.org.

 

September 24, 2015 JAC  to BOC  REF: UPCOMING RULES TO BE VOTED ON OCTOBER 16, 2015:

 

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c/o Urban Justice Center
40 Rector Street, 9th floor
New York, NY 10006
September 24, 2015
BY E-MAIL
Stanley Brezenoff, Chair
Members of the Board
NYC Board of Correction
1 Centre Street, Room 2213
New York, NY 10007
Re: October 16, 2015 Board of Correction Meeting
Dear Members of the Board of Correction:
We are deeply concerned that the Board has decided to schedule only one hearing on the rule changes regarding visits, packages, punitive segregation, and enhanced supervision housing units (ESHU). Given the widespread interest in the proposed rule changes, we expected the Board to conduct at least two public hearings and to hold one of them in the evening.
Considering that the December 19, 2014 hearing on ESHU lasted for almost seven hours, we are surprised that the Board intends to begin the October 16 hearing at 1 p.m. on a Friday. Please provide us with the more information regarding the hearing format:
 Will the Board impose a time limit on individuals who sign up to speak at the hearing? If so, what will the time limit be?
We encourage you to allow each speaker at least 10 minutes to comment given the number of rule changes under consideration. (Many speakers will not take the full 10 minute period.)
 Will all Board members be expected to attend the entirety of the hearing?
We hope that all Board members will attend this hearing in full. Many individuals were frustrated that most of the Board members left the December 19 hearing before it was completed.
 Will the Board allow the hearing to continue until everyone has had an opportunity to speak? Or is there a time at which the hearing will be terminated?

We encourage the Board to continue the hearing into the evening and to allow speakers to indicate their preference to speak in the evening when they sign up in advance.
 Has the Board posted information about the hearing throughout the jails, in each law library and in all of the visit areas?
We urge you to ensure that the people most affected by the proposed rule changes receive actual notice of the text of the proposed rules and of their opportunity to comment on the proposed rule.
Thank you for considering our concerns. We look forward to receiving your prompt response.
Sincerely,
NYC Jails Action Coalition
cc: Martha King, Executive Director

 

JAC Letter to Board Sept 24 2015 October 16 Hearing p1

 

September 30, 2015  BOC  RESPONSE TO JAC REF: UPCOMING RULES TO BE VOTED ON OCTOBER 16, 2015:

From: King, Martha (BOC)
Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 4:46 PM
To: Jennifer Parish
Cc: Stanley Brezenoff
Subject: Response to recent letter to the Board on process

 

Hi Jennifer  – Please see responses from the Board to the questions raised in the August 24th from the Jail Actions Coalition.  Let me know if you’d like to discuss further.

Thanks,
Martha

 

Q: Will the Board impose a time limit on individuals who sign up to speak at the hearing? If so, what will the time limit be?

  1. The time limit at the last hearing was three minutes.  The time limit at the October 16, 2015 hearing will be six minutes per person.

Q: Will all Board members be expected to attend the entirety of the hearing?

  1. Board members are scheduled to attend this hearing but depending on the length of the hearing (hard to predict) all may not be able to stay for its entirety. All board members will review the full transcript or video.

Q: Will the Board allow the hearing to continue until everyone has had an opportunity to speak? Or is there a time at which the hearing will be terminated?

  1. The hearing will continue until everyone has had an opportunity to speak.  On 10/16, the hearing will end at 7 PM.  However, if there are speakers signed up who have not yet spoken by 7 PM, they will be scheduled for a continuation of the hearing to occur on 10/19 at 4 PM.  We will post this more detailed information about the hearing on our website and send an email to interested parties. If it is necessary to continue the 10/16 hearing on a later date, the continuation date and time will also be announced on 10/16 at 7PM to hearing participants.

Q: What accommodations will the Board be making to allow for working people and youth in school to participate in the public hearing?

  1. We scheduled the 10/16 hearing to begin at 1 PM expecting it to run through some of the evening and thus accommodate both people who are available during the day time and others only available after school or work.   The hearing on 10/16 will end at 7 PM, but if there are still people signed up who have not had the chance to speak at that time, the hearing will be continued on 10/19 at 4 PM.  We will share this information via email to interested parties and on our website.
  2.   Has the Board posted information about the hearing throughout the jails, in each law library and in all of the visit areas?
  3. We agree the information should be posted in the jails.  We have taken steps to post in each law library and visit area.  We will let you know when that is complete.

 

 

Martha King

Executive Director

New York City Board of Correction

 

 

MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT THE PROPOSED RULE CHANGES TO BE VOTED ON OCTOBER 16, 2015:

 

Microsoft Word - MYTHS vs FACTS - Visiting - Final

Microsoft Word - MYTHS vs FACTS - Visiting - Final

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 ARCHIVED RULE CHANGE PROPOSALS:

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED RULES REGARDING ISOLATED CONFINEMENT  FROM 2014

(Click here to download the complete JAC Petition to the Board of Correction.)

The NYC Jails Action Coalition (JAC) calls on the Board of Correction, which establishes minimum standards regulating conditions of confinement in the city jails, to adopt rules regarding the Department of Correction’s (DOC) use of solitary confinement.

JAC’s proposed rules would end DOC’s use of “punitive segregation” through which DOC punishes incarcerated people for a range of infractions – from possessing tobacco to assaulting staff – by confining them in a cell for 22 to 24 hours a day without meaningful social interaction or mental stimulation. The proposed rules will significantly limit the use of isolated confinement.

• Limitations on Placement in Isolated Confinement 

DOC will only be allowed to place a person in isolated confinement if s/he has caused another person serious physical injury or presents an imminent risk of causing such injury through violence AND the person presents an ongoing threat of violence against another AND all other less restrictive alternatives haven’t worked.

Time Limits on Isolated Confinement Sentence 

The maximum sentence that a hearing officer will be allowed to impose is 15 days. The period of isolated confinement could only be extended after a new hearing, an evaluation by a mental health clinician, and the DOC Commissioner’s written approval. The absolute total limit on isolated confinement will be 60 days.

• Time Limits on Cell Confinement during an Isolated Confinement Sentence 

Every person in isolated confinement must be allowed 4 hours out of cell daily.

• Vulnerable Populations Excluded from Isolated Confinement 

Incarcerated people under 25 years old and people with mental or physical disabilities or serious injuries may not be placed in isolated confinement.

• Creation of Alternative Safety Restrictions 

People who meet criteria for placement in isolated confinement but are excluded because of their vulnerable status instead must be placed in an alternative safety restriction that is the least restrictive means to prevent violence, be provided with a therapeutic plan, have at least 8 hours out of cell daily, and be provided with positive incentives.

• Improved Due Process Requirements 

Before a person can be placed in isolated confinement, there must be a hearing conducted by non-DOC staff at which the accused person has representation and an opportunity to call and cross-examine witnesses and to present evidence.

• Increased Transparency 

DOC will be required to report on its use of isolated confinement and alternative safety restrictions.