ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – Executive Board members of the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) announced a federal lawsuit against the State of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).
“Thanks to the lax laws and reforms that the state of NY has enacted, our prisons are more violent and dangerous than they’ve ever been before,” stated Michael Powers, NYSCOPBA President.
Powers said the organization is against the recently passed HALT Act, which limits the amount of time an inmate can spend in, what some call, solitary confinement, to 15 days. Powers said its slap on the wrist for violent offenders within the prison system and will only make matters worse.
“Attacks on staff are up 100 percent in the last 9 years,” explained Powers. “Inmate on inmate assaults are up 100 percent in the last 9 years.”
One officer who was attacked said 15 days isn’t fair.
“He cornered me in a closet,” explained Officer Hayes. “Where he viciously attacked me. Punching me several times in the face. Ripping open my shirt, removing any equipment that would have helped me.”
In a statement DOCCS said, “While the department cannot comment on pending litigation, DOCCS has a zero tolerance policy with respect to violence in our facilities and pursues both disciplinary charges and criminal prosecution for any assault. A new felony conviction would result in a consecutive sentence of imprisonment”
The HALT bill has been signed into law and DOCCS has been working on a plan to safely implement the law, which still provides for segregated housing for acts of violence against officers and other incarcerated persons.”
The law will go into effect in April of next year. News 10 reached out to the governor’s office for comment, but did not get a response