Assembly Passes Laws Addressing Reintegration After Incarceration

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
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Photos: Twitter\ NYS Senate

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie Thursday announced the Assembly has passed legislation that would ensure individuals have the support they need to reenter the community after incarceration and successfully complete their community supervision.

“Successful reintegration requires planning and a system that works to help people avoid recidivism,” said Speaker Heastie. “These critical pieces of legislation will reduce jail and prison populations, support people in the reentry process and promote safety and justice for families and communities.”

“Too often, individuals are released from correctional facilities without the support systems that would allow them to succeed as they return to society,” said Assemblymember Maritza Davila. “My legislation would provide comprehensive discharge planning to individuals prior to release or discharge that would help connect them with the services they need to be productive members of their communities.”

“New York has one of the highest rates of reincarceration for technical parole violations in the nation, and the racial disparity is stark,” said Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest. “Reincarceration for technical violations hurts families and disrupts working class communities of color. The process of reintegration requires a great deal of support for the parolee, their family and their community. This legislation represents an important step toward meeting our social obligation to support all New Yorkers in living secure, comfortable and meaningful lives.”

One bill would help ensure individuals being released from state and local correctional facilities receive appropriate support and services when reentering the community by requiring a comprehensive discharge plan be prepared no later than 45 days prior to release (A.8022, Davila). The plan would include planning for the person's mental health needs, medical care, housing, employment and any substance use disorder services.

A second bill (A.5576-A, Forrest), titled by supporters as “Less is More,” would help facilitate the positive reintegration into society of people who are subject to community supervision (parole, presumptive release, conditional release and post-release supervision) and help reduce unnecessary incarceration, by:

  • incentivizing individuals under supervision to continue following parole rules by allowing them to receive “earned time credits,” and in the long term, potentially reducing the term of supervision;
  • developing fairer procedures for violation adjudication proceedings;
  • assuring that people alleged to have violated a parole rule receive a local hearing before a judge to determine whether they should be detainedpending adjudication of the alleged violation;
  • limiting the circumstances under which people subject to community supervision may be reincarcerated for technical violations of the terms of community supervision; and
  • expediting adjudicatory hearings.

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