FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION ALLOWING FREE BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR CITY RESIDENTS IN STATE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The next bill before me is Introductory Number 574-A, sponsored by Council Members Palma, Brewer, James, Koppell, Martinez, Vacca, Mark-Viverito, de Blasio, Sanders, Weprin, Dickens, Sears, Mealy and Jackson. Introductory Number 574-A expands the population of City residents serving in a New York State correctional facilities who will be eligible to receive free birth certificates.
"Introductory Number 574-A requires the Department of Correction to provide, free of charge, a certified birth certificate upon request to any inmate born in New York City who has been sentenced to 90 days or more in a New York City correctional facility and who will serve at least 30 days after sentencing. In addition, the bill requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to provide, free of charge, a certified birth certificate upon request to any inmate at a New York State correctional facility serving any length of time.
"Birth certificates are a vital tool for effective re-entry into society. Without proof of identity a person cannot legally obtain a job. Birth certificates also provide the proof of citizenship necessary for access to health insurance, which studies have shown improves outcomes for people returning from jail or prison. Linking formerly incarcerated people to services and opportunities once they return to society has been central to the work of the Department of Correction.
"The Department of Correction currently pays the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for birth certificates on behalf of sentenced inmates engaged in discharge planning. This bill expands the number of people eligible for free birth certificates and we hope that it will increase the number who take advantage of our re-entry services.
"I would like to thank Department of Correction Commissioner Martin Horn and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Tom Frieden and their staff for their hard work on this bill. I would also like to thank the Council for approving this legislation."
Loeser/Michael Levoff (212) 788-2958
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