Union for county jail employees opposes HALT Act
‘Due to the HALT Act, we have lost the ability to isolate predatory inmates from the rest of the incarcerated population and we have lost the ability to enforce safety and security rules in these facilities.’
Editor’s Note: Council 82 is the union that represents the Orleans County Sheriff’s Employees Association, which includes corrections officers, dispatchers, civil clerks and jail cooks.
Press Release, NYS Law Enforcement Officers Union, Council 82
ALBANY – The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act, also known as HALT Act, has been in effect since March 31, 2022. It has been an absolute disaster for every correction facility across this state, and it is only getting worse.
Correction officers who work in state prisons and in county correctional facilities are being physically assaulted at vastly increased rates. The HALT Act has made it impossible for those of us who are sworn to protect the safety and security of every incarcerated individual to do so.
In our profession, until recently, we had the ability to protect incarcerated individuals from other incarcerated individuals who assault, bully, and extort them.
Due to the HALT Act, we have lost the ability to isolate predatory inmates from the rest of the incarcerated population and we have lost the ability to enforce safety and security rules in these facilities. The advocates who lobbied for the horrible HALT legislation may have had the best intentions, but in fact the HALT Act has created a far more dangerous situation for incarcerated individuals and the officers who must protect them.
The HALT Act as currently written, provides no mechanism to lock-in an incarcerated individual who uses their HALT-required hours out of their cell to threaten, harass, assault and extort other incarcerated individuals and staff.
“We implore Governor Hochul and the State Legislature to take immediate steps to correct this dangerous, unsustainable, and worsening situation – either through outright repeal of the HALT Act or through its significant amendment. The individuals who work and the individuals who are housed in these facilities deserve better,” said Ronald Walsh, President of Council 82.
Council 82 represents over 3,000 correction officers, police officers, deputy sheriffs, emergency dispatchers, and other public safety personnel across New York State.