FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 01, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION ENHANCING DISCHARGE PLANNING FOR CITY INMATES
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The last bill before me today is Introductory Number 310-A, sponsored by Council Members Clarke, Barron, Foster, Gerson, Gonzalez, James, Koppell, Lopez, Martinez, Palma, Perkins, Sanders, Stewart, Vann, Boyland, Weprin and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. Intro. 310-A codifies the Department of Correction's current efforts to provide discharge planning for its inmates.
"Individuals entering and being discharged from City jails frequently suffer from many social problems including substance abuse, homelessness and mental illness. 63% of inmates are arrested again within three years of their release. In an attempt to help put an end to this cycle, New York City has established the Discharge Planning Project, a multi-agency and multi-provider initiative to address re-entry issues in jails. Participants include the Department of Correction, the Department of Probation, the Department of Homeless Services, the Human Resources Administration, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator.
"These agencies and others have been working cooperatively with many not-for-profit service providers and advocacy organizations in a combined effort to produce better post-incarceration services. The City Council has supported these initiatives by funding community-based organizations which provide essential services to assist in the successful reentry of offenders back into their communities. The legislation I sign today codifies these cooperative efforts and lays the groundwork for continuing work to improve public safety by increasing the likelihood of success among returning offenders.
"This bill requires that the Department of Correction continue to assess the housing, employment and sobriety needs of sentenced inmates serving ten or more days; the Department is required, with the inmate's consent, to share such information with the appropriate social service organizations. The bill also requires the Department of Correction and the Department of Homeless Services to identify inmates who cycle between city jails and homeless shelters. The bill requires that the Department of Correction make applications for government benefits available to inmates by placing them in accessible locations, and to continue to provide assistance to sentenced inmates serving 30 days or more with the preparation of applications for government benefits and identification.
"I would like to thank Martin Horn, the Commissioner of the Department of Correction and Linda Gibbs Commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services for their leading role in this effort. I would also like to thank the Council for their work on this bill, especially Council Member Clarke for her continued interest and dedication to this issue."
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Watch the bill signing in 56k or 300k