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ALBANY, NY (WENY) – As the state’s legislative session approaches, some New York lawmakers have renewed their call to repeal the Humane Alternatives to Solidarity Confinement Act, otherwise known as the HALT Act.
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano argued that since the HALT Act was signed into law, there has been a significant rise in violence in the state’s correctional facilities.
“There’s a crisis and an emergency going on in our correctional facilities,” said Palmesano.
In April, the HALT Act went into effect, causing uproar among some local lawmakers and correctional officers statewide.
According to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, violence increased in New York State correctional facilities has risen over 35% since April 1, 2022. Inmate-on-staff violence increased approximately 37% and inmate-on-inmate violence has increased over 30% since April 1.
The law was approved last year by the legislatures democratic majorities and signed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The act essentially limits isolated confinement.
Earlier this year, the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association called on Gov. Kathy Hochul to not move forward with HALT’s implementation.
Palmesano argued that the men and women who work in correctional facilities put their lives on the line and they need to be protected.
“This happens every day in correctional facilities, and we need to show them that we have their back and we’re gonna be there to protect them,” he said.
Moving forward, Palmesano suggested that Gov. Hochul declare an emergency that would essentially suspend the HALT Act until session starts and a repeal is introduced.
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