ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Correctional officers in New York State are taking a stand against sexual assault in state prisons. Members of New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) said there has been an increase in sexual harassment for female correctional officers since the HALT Act was passed.

The HALT Act limits the use of solitary confinement.

“Because of HALT, the incarcerated community knows that there are no consequences for their actions,” NYSCOPBA Pres. Mike Powers said. “A disturbing trend the women of NYSCOPBA are experiencing in the workplace is not specifically being tracked, and that’s a problem.”

The group is pushing for a bill that would increase criminal penalties for certain sexual offenses committed against corrections officers. It is currently in committee.

However, Jerome Wright, Co-Director of the HALT Solitary Campaign, sent a statement to NEWS10:

Everyone deserves to be safe. State prisons continue to operate in a racist and lawless manner and flagrantly violate the HALT Solitary Confinement Law to continue their system of torture. At the same time, prisons across the state are not only systemically flouting the law, but are also inflicting other forms of abuse and repression tragically reminiscent of the conditions in the lead up to the Attica rebellion. From rampant and racist staff brutality and the use of false tickets to cover-up abuse and create a false narrative around violence, to the denial of family care packages and visits, the prisons are continuing to deny incarcerated people their most basic human rights and care, and perpetuating an overall oppressive environment and culture of violence. In order to stop torture, save lives, and improve safety for everyone, Governor Hochul must act immediately to ensure her prisons implement the HALT Solitary Law fully, rescind the ban on care packages and restrictions on visits, and stop staff brutality and abuse.”