Testimony before the Board of Correction regarding proposed amendments to certain minimum standards at NYC correctional facilities
The Corrections and Community Reentry Committee provided written testimony to the Board of Correction to oppose a proposed Minimum Standards rule change at City correctional facilities. The proposal would make changes related to visitation rights, sending and receiving packages, punitive segregation, and Enhanced Supervision Housing. The Committee argued that the Minimum Standards for visiting Rikers Island should not be lowered because they provide insufficient procedural protections for visitors and incarcerated individuals and that further justification is needed for the changes. Concerns were raised about the recommendation that all packages sent to incarcerated individuals be sent through a pre-approved vendor because of the burden it would place on low-income families. Given the lack of justification for significantly modifying the rules, the inherent conflict between extending prolonged-isolation and the fundamental purposes for approving the rules, and the failure of the Department to implement measures for the population it proposes should stay longer in segregation, the Committee urged the Board to reject proposed exceptions to recently enacted restrictions on the use of punitive segregation. Finally, the Committee urged the Board not to dilute the procedural protections for individuals placed in Enhanced Supervision Housing.