Assemblyman Brian Miller (R,I,C-New Hartford) joined Sen. Dan Stec (R,C-Queensbury), their Minority colleagues and officials from the New York State Corrections Officers Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) at a press conference to announce a bill to repeal the HALT Act, which went into effect March 31, 2022. The law severely limits the use of segregated confinement or special housing units, only making already unsafe prisons more dangerous for officers and inmates.
“The HALT Act has been an abysmal failure, making our prisons all the more dangerous for everyone working and being housed there. Policies like the HALT Act favor the comfort of the few especially difficult and dangerous prisoners, over the protection of other workers and inmates,” said Miller.
Since the implementation of the law, assaults on officers in state prisons increased by 25 percent, adding to already stressed prisons which have faced record cases of violence. According to NYSCOBA, the monthly rate of assaults was roughly 190 cases for the past three years. After the HALT Act was put in place, the monthly cases rose to 260.
For the safety of correctional staff and other inmates, the use of special housing units are an important tool in keeping prisons and jails safe. Violence has become so vicious in prisons that Acting Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) Anthony Annucci sent a memo calling the acts out for their “sheer savagery” and randomness.
“New York has an obligation to keep prisons safe for the workers and inmates, and restoring the use of special housing units is the right step toward safer correctional facilities,” concluded Miller.