Coba Alert

IDC Calls for Increased Protections for Correction Officers

May 12, 2017

Members of the Independent Democratic Conference on Tuesday called for increased protections for corrections officers in light of mounting prison violence.

"We're asking these men and women to do so much, but we're not backing them up with the resources that they need," Sen. David Carlucci, whose district includes Sing Sing Correctional facility in Westchester County, said at a press conference.

The IDC released a report highlighting an increase in violence by inmates against prison staff as well as other inmates, and pushed to pass bills which they say would curb those attacks.

"We all seem to have the same problems everywhere you go, whether it's in the State System, the City System or in the County Systems, contraband/violence is a major problem in all of these systems," said Brian Sullivan, President of the Nassau County Correction Officers Benevolent Association.

The IDC's leader, Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx, said contraband drugs and weapons are contributing to the attacks and said body scanners would prevent illicit goods from entering prisons.

He also pushed fellow legislators to pass his measure banning synthetic marijuana, known as K-2, from being sold in stores or online.

"I think that's how we make sure it's not getting into our prisons so easily," he said.

Sen. Marisol Alcantara, a former union organizer, said she introduced a bill Tuesday that would make correction officers eligible for workers' compensation if they suffer psychological injury like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from an inmate throwing bodily fluids at them.

"When you go to work you expect respect and to be treated with dignity," she said. "We cannot overlook those who have been tormented by such a repulsive [action] and the psychological effect that that has on you when you go to work."

She said it would be similar to provisions included as part of a series of workers' compensation reforms in the most recent state budget.

Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, a Brooklyn Democrat who worked as a Correction Officer before entering politics, joined the IDC in calling for increased support for prison staff.

Harris, pointing to a scar on her arm, said she had been attacked by inmates and suffered mental distress that led to her retirement.

"I relive over and over, and still relive that assault," she said.

This article appeared in Politico.


News from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association



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