NYS Assembly Joint Committee Hearings re: Prison Health

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The Correctional Association of New York was one of over 30 organizations testifying at today’s New York State Assembly Joint Health and Correction’s public hearing on prison healthcare. Through our statutory authority granted in 1846, the CA monitors New York prisons and reports to policy makers and the public, our observations and recommendations for reform.

During our testimony, the CA noted that that healthcare for the more than 51,000 men and women in NYS prisons continues to be a major concern due to inadequate resourcing for sufficient medical staffing, delays, lack of confidentiality, inattention and uncaring attitudes and behaviors on the part of prison administrators and staff.  Shining the light on the increase in prison deaths, the overuse of solitary confinement, disparities in HIV and HCV prevalence rates, and the need for gender-sensitive/trauma –informed care and practices among other issues, the CA called for increased state oversight of prison healthcare, including the establishment of an ombudsman to investigate both system-wide and individual medical issues. The CA’s Prison Visiting Project said, “Greater outside oversight is needed by expanding DOH Article 28 jurisdiction over correctional facilities.”

As to women and conditions of confinement, Gail T. Smith, director of the CA’s Women in Prison Project noted, ” We are grateful for the opportunity to give information to the NY Assembly to improve health care in NY prisons and to attain gender-appropriate, trauma informed care for women. We hope this will lead to stronger systems of health care delivery and oversight so that people inside have the dignity of having the same quality of health care as those who are living in among the outside community.”

Read the full testimony from the Prison Visiting Project.

View exhibits from the testimony.

Read the testimony submitted by the Women in Prison Project.