On July 9, 2019, the Board of Correction approved final rules on the prevention, reporting, and investigation of injuries. The rules went into effect on August 21, 2019.
In January 2019, Board staff published a report which summarized data on serious injuries to people in custody and a three-month audit of serious injury reports. The report found that the Department of Correction reported 81% fewer serious injuries than was diagnosed by Health+Hospitals Correctional Health Services. The Board’s report was the first public accounting of serious injuries over time and presented the number, type, cause, and facility of serious injuries for audited months.
In response to these findings, the Board planned to impose conditions on a longstanding CHS variance that allowed for the sharing of injury information between the agencies. Just prior to the February 2019 public meeting, the Corporation Counsel decided that the Board’s oversight via this variance was no longer required. That decision was based on his finding that the Board’s Minimum Standard should be interpreted differently than it had been for the past five years.
In February 2019, the Board unanimously passed a Resolution disagreeing with the Corporation Counsel’s opinion. The Board further announced it would enter rulemaking to enforce the Minimum Standards and implement additional rules to improve injury responses and prevention, which Board staff found to be dangerously flawed in BOC’s January 2019 report. At its March 2019 public meeting, the Board voted to propose rules, thus beginning the public comment process required by the City Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA).
The proposed rules seek to:
Under the proposed rules, CHS would be able to disclose certain individual communicable disease diagnoses when an exposure has occurred at a facility and it is necessary for CHS to engage in contact tracing to protect the health and safety of exposed individuals; when such disclosures are made, CHS would be required to inform the Board within 24 hours.
Additionally, in recognition of the fact that individuals in DOC custody are people first, and the circumstance of their incarceration is not their defining feature, the Board has made a commitment to employ person-forward language in its Minimum Standards and general communications going forward. To this end, the Board has proposed deleting all references to “Inmates” in favor of person-first terms such as “people in custody.”
On May 14, 2019, the Board voted to propose rules on the prevention, reporting, and investigation of injuries, and began the public comment process, as required by City Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA). Public comments could be be submitted to the Board in writing via:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
The City’s rules website – rules.cityofnewyork.us
Mail – 1 Centre Street, Room 2213, New York, NY 10007
Fax – 212 669 7980
Members of the public had the opportunity to make oral comments at a CAPA hearing scheduled for June 20 at 22 Reade Street. CAPA hearing video and transcript are avaialble here.