Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Oct. 19, 2016

News Site Brooklyn

De Blasio, Cumbo Push Through Prison Inmate Reform Bills

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio with strong help from City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights) yesterday signed into law five measures – Intros. 899-A, 1014-A, 1064-A, 1144-A, 1183-A – aimed at increasing reporting and transparency in programing and services for inmates.

“It is our job to ensure that the jails in this City treat those who have been placed in them as fairly as possible,” said de Blasio. “By reporting on what changes we are implementing, what proposals are actually working and what we can still do better, we are taking a big step today towards building critical and meaningful jail reform for the City of New York.”

The first bill, Intro. 899-A, will increase the transparency to procedures and reporting for the Rikers Island nursery program. This bill defines many aspects of the nursery program at Rikers, such as the terms child, nursery, staff, and use of force. Additionally, this bill requires that the child and mother will be housed in the nursery unless the warden of the facility denies the child admission to the nursery.

Finally, the law stipulates that the Department of Correction must release an annual report on their website including the total number of children admitted to the nursery, the daily population of children in the nursery, the total number of applicants to the nursery, the rate of incidents involving use of force, and the number of both accepted and denied applicants to the nursery; if they were denied, where they were placed.

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo
City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

“The Riker’s Island Nursery bill will require that female inmates are notified about the program and that they are given a written explanation should they be rejected. It’s time to inform women about their rights and stop punishing children for the failures of a system that has given very few opportunities for women in this situation. With the passing of this legislation, more women can care for their children, less children will become wards of the state, and the female inmates who give birth while in prison will be far less likely to return after being released,” said Cumbo.

The second bill, Intro. 1014-A, requires the Department of Correction to post on its website an annual report regarding mentally ill inmates. This law defines an eligible inmate as an inmate whose period of confinement is 24 hours or longer and receives no less than two visits from mental health staff.

Additionally, this law also clearly states that the DOC must post an annual report, permanently accessible through the DOC website, regarding mentally ill inmates and recidivism, with information on the number of inmates released by the department into the community, the number of eligible inmates released into the community, the number of MH eligible inmates released into the community who were eligible during the report period and how many of these inmates returned into custody within one year of being released.

The third bill, Intro. 1064-A, requires the Department of Correction to evaluate programs it utilizes. Specifically, this bill requires the evaluation of inmate programing and structured services offered to inmates, submitting an annual summary of each evaluation. This summary will include: the amount of funding received, estimated number of inmates served, a brief description of the program being offered and include a comparison between the current year and prior five years.

The fourth bill, Intro. 1144-A, requires the use of trauma-informed care in city correctional facilities. This bill defines the terms trauma-informed, staff and the words training, reporting and usage. This bill requires the department to monitor the use of trauma-informed care and provide trainings to all appropriate staff.

Additionally, the guidelines for use of trauma-informed must be consistent with standards developed by the substance abuse and mental health services administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. An annual report of the number of employees trained, a description of the guidelines and any programs utilizing trauma-informed care, beginning in 2018 and every year afterward.

The fifth bill, Intro. 1183-A, requires arrestee health screenings and the exchange of health information of inmates in the custody of the Department of Correction. This bill defines arrestee under custodial arrest by the Police Department, while also requiring a medical treatment report when an arrestee is treated by a health care provider while in custody; this report must include a brief description of the arrestee’s medical condition and the arrestee’s name and other identifying information.

Malliotakis Pushes Bill To Get Tougher Recidivist Felons

Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis
Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R – Bay Ridge, Staten Island) tomorrow will host a press conference calling on the legislature to move Assembly bill A 9778  – prohibiting those who have more than two prior felony convictions from being sent to drug treatment instead of prison, a loophole in the law that has allowed drug dealers to be released back on the streets.

Dubbed “Officer Randolph Holder’s Law,” the measure is named for the late NYPD Officer Randolph Holder, who was October 20, 2015 after responding to a report of gun shots in the area and was senselessly murdered.  The person who senselessly committed the crime had five previous drug convictions, was wanted by the police in connection with a September 1, 2015 shooting, and had a warrant open for failing to participate in court ordered treatment.

The measure would also require the court to consider the risk a defendant might pose to public safety and require the consent of the district attorney before a defendant is granted entry into a diversion program.

The press conference is slated for 12 noon, tomorrow, April 20 at the Richmond County Courthouse, 26 Central Avenue, St. George, Staten Island.

Mosley Pushes Increased Diversity In City’s Specialized High Schools

Assemblyman Walter Mosley
Assemblyman Walter Mosley

Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights) has joined Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx and and Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens) in calling on the City’s Department of Education to release information regarding policy initiatives and actions to increase diversity in the city’s specialized high schools.

Specialized high schools in the NYC DOE offer extensive programs for academically gifted students. Attendance at these specialized schools is determined by an admissions test, the SHSAT, that often requires preparation in order to attain the scores needed for acceptance or time allocated to attend the limited test dates offered.

Often, additional resources are needed to excel in this admission test such as after school test prep, practice testing, and special tutoring. A lack of these resources in underrepresented communities as well as the limited availability of tests dates may contribute to the huge disparity in the racial demographics of these specialized high schools.

This year, only 11 percent of students enrolled at these specialized high schools were African-American or Latino, despite these groups representing 68 percent of students enrolled in schools citywide. In addition, there were much fewer African American and Latino students who took the SHSAT at all, indicating that a lack of availability of the special admissions test might also be a source of the problem.

To combat this growing racial disparity in the city’s most prestigious schools, the lawmakers have secured  $1.75 million for the 2017 fiscal year to implement a number of proactive, targeted initiatives to increase the number of students from underrepresented communities in the specialized high schools.

In addition $250,000 was specifically given to the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation to expand their proven Middle School STEM Pipeline program. New York City has pledged a further $ 15 million to develop additional programs to address this problem over the next four years.

The DOE has posted general overview of potential programs and initiatives to expand diversity and address this problem on their website, yet a detailed, comprehensive update on the DOE’s programmatic efforts-to-date has not materialized.

“African Americans and Latino’s are severely underrepresented in New York City’s specialized High Schools. Last March my colleagues and I were able to secure $2 million for programs meant to help raise those numbers throughout the five boroughs. Today, many parents and advocates are left unsure of where the city’s Department of Education (DOE) is in the process of installing these potential diversity programs. Since then a substantial amount of time has passed, and we are asking the DOE to update the public on the spending plan for these funds, so that we can be assured there is not further delay in addressing this very serious and urgent matter,” said Mosley.

Schumer Headlines IND Meeting

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U. S. Sen. Charles Schumer will headline tonight’s Independent Neighborhood Democrats (IND) Reform Democratic Club meeting tonight.

Schumer will give a short speech followed bu a Q&A session. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez will also be on hand to give introductory remarks and Down Brooklyn Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon will give a legislative report.

The meeting is slated for 7:45 p.m., tonight at Saint Francis College Auditorium, 180 Remson Street in Brooklyn Heights. Then from 9:00- 10:30 p.m., the IND will join the LAMBDA, Stonewall Democrats and the  Brooklyn Young Democrats in a debate watch party also in the auditorium.

Williams Hosts Town Hall Meeting

City Councilman Jumaane Williams
City Councilman Jumaane Williams

City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) will be hosting a town hall meeting with Flatlands Flatbush Civic Group tomorrow night.

Constituents and interested members of the public will have the opportunity to learn about city initiatives, and raise issues of concern to Council Member Williams and representatives from various City agencies. Areas of discussion include issues pertaining to, quality of life, transportation, small businesses and education.

There will be representatives from the following offices and agencies:

  • Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
  • Office of Senator Kevin S. Parker
  • Office of Assembly Member Helene Weinstein
  • Office of Assembly Member Jaime R. Williams
  • Department of Buildings
  • Department of Homeless Services
  • Department of Sanitation
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
  • Department of Transportation
  • New York Police Department’s 63rd Precinct

The meeting is slated for 6-8 p.m., tomorrow, Oct. 20  at P.S. 109, 1001 East 45th Street in Flatlands. To RSVP, please contact Farah Louis-Drayton, at Council Member Williams’ office, Tel: 718-629-2900 Email: [email protected].

Central Brooklyn Lawmakers Host Public Safety Town Hall

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton

Central Brooklyn lawmakers including Assembly Members Walter T. Mosley and Diana Richardson, State Sen. Jesse Hamilton, City Council Member Laurie Cumbo and Democratic District Leader Geoffrey Davis tomorrow will host a Public Safety Town Hall meeting.

The meeting will focus on stopping inner city violence. Save Our Streets and the James E. Davis Stop Violence Foundation are co-hosting the event.

The Town hall meeting is slated for 6-8 p.m., tomorrow, Oct. 20 at Medgar Evers College Edison O. Jackson Building, 1638 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights.

Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP Obtain $2.43 Million Verdict (Sponsored)

WRSH attorneys Robert Bellinson and Joseph Stoduto obtained a verdict in the amount of $2.43 million on behalf of a twenty-five year old nursing student from the Bronx.

The woman was driving her vehicle along a local roadway in the Bronx when a New York City Transit Authority bus struck her vehicle, causing a serious collision. As a result of the accident, the client suffered injuries to her lower back requiring surgery. During the course of the litigation, Joseph won a decision from the Court that the defendants were 100% responsible for the collision, despite the defendants contention that they did nothing wrong.

The defendants took the position that the client’s damages were minimal and they refused to make a settlement offer. Robert conducted a full and complete jury trial on the issue of damages, which was fiercely contested by the defendants and by the doctors which they had hired to examine our client and testify in Court against us.

At the conclusion of the trial, the jury awarded the client the total sum of $2,43 million for her damages.

The law firm of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP is one of the city’s top accident and medical malpractice firms in the city and is there to represent you. To get a free consultation click Here.