New York Correction Law § 137. Program of treatment, control, discipline at correctional facilities




1. The commissioner shall establish program and classification procedures designed to assure the complete study of the background and condition of each inmate in the care or custody of the department and the assignment of such inmate to a program that is most likely to be useful in assisting him to refrain from future violations of the law.  Such procedures shall be incorporated into the rules and regulations of the department and shall require among other things:  consideration of the physical, mental and emotional condition of the inmate;  consideration of his educational and vocational needs;  consideration of the danger he presents to the community or to other inmates;  the recording of continuous case histories including notations as to apparent success or failure of treatment employed;  and periodic review of case histories and treatment methods used.

2. The commissioner shall provide for such measures as he may deem necessary or appropriate for the safety, security and control of correctional facilities and the maintenance of order therein.

3. Each inmate shall be entitled to clothing suited to the season and weather conditions and to a sufficient quantity of wholesome and nutritious food.  To the extent practicable, the clothing and bedding of inmates shall be manufactured and laundered in institutions in the department.

4. Whenever there shall be a sufficient number of cells or rooms in a correctional facility, each inmate shall be given sleeping accommodations in a separate cell or room, provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be construed so as to limit the right of the department to utilize dormitory-type accommodations where necessary or where appropriate to a program of treatment.

5. No inmate in the care or custody of the department shall be subjected to degrading treatment, and no officer or other employee of the department shall inflict any blows whatever upon any inmate, unless in self defense, or to suppress a revolt or insurrection.  When any inmate, or group of inmates, shall offer violence to any person, or do or attempt to do any injury to property, or attempt to escape, or resist or disobey any lawful direction, the officers and employees shall use all suitable means to defend themselves, to maintain order, to enforce observation of discipline, to secure the persons of the offenders and to prevent any such attempt or escape.

6. Except as provided in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this subdivision, the superintendent of a correctional facility may keep any inmate confined in a cell or room, apart from the accommodations provided for inmates who are participating in programs of the facility, for such period as may be necessary for maintenance of order or discipline, but in any such case the following conditions shall be observed:

(a) The inmate shall be supplied with a sufficient quantity of wholesome and nutritious food, provided, however, that such food need not be the same as the food supplied to inmates who are participating in programs of the facility;

(b) Adequate sanitary and other conditions required for the health of the inmate shall be maintained;

(c) Where such confinement is for a period in excess of twenty-four hours, the superintendent shall arrange for the facility health services director, or a registered nurse or physician's associate approved by the facility health services director to visit such inmate at the expiration of twenty-four hours and at least once in every twenty-four hour period thereafter, during the period of such confinement, to examine into the state of health of the inmate, and the superintendent shall give full consideration to any recommendation that may be made by the facility health services director for measures with respect to dietary needs or conditions of confinement of such inmate required to maintain the health of such inmate;  and

(d)(i) Except as set forth in clause (E) of subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, the department, in consultation with mental health clinicians, shall divert or remove inmates with serious mental illness, as defined in paragraph (e) of this subdivision, from segregated confinement, where such confinement could potentially be for a period in excess of thirty days, to a residential mental health treatment unit.  Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to prevent the disciplinary process from proceeding in accordance with department rules and regulations for disciplinary hearings.

(ii)(A) Upon placement of an inmate into segregated confinement at a level one or level two facility, a suicide prevention screening instrument shall be administered by staff from the department or the office of mental health who has been trained for that purpose.  If such a screening instrument reveals that the inmate is at risk of suicide, a mental health clinician shall be consulted and appropriate safety precautions shall be taken.  Additionally, within one business day of the placement of such an inmate into segregated confinement at a level one or level two facility, the inmate shall be assessed by a mental health clinician.

(B) Upon placement of an inmate into segregated confinement at a level three or level four facility, a suicide prevention screening instrument shall be administered by staff from the department or the office of mental health who has been trained for that purpose.  If such a screening instrument reveals that the inmate is at risk of suicide, a mental health clinician shall be consulted and appropriate safety precautions shall be taken.  All inmates placed in segregated confinement at a level three or level four facility shall be assessed by a mental health clinician, within fourteen days of such placement into segregated confinement.

(C) At the initial assessment, if the mental health clinician finds that an inmate suffers from a serious mental illness, a recommendation shall be made whether exceptional circumstances, as described in clause (E) of this subparagraph, exist. In a facility with a joint case management committee, such recommendation shall be made by such committee.  In a facility without a joint case management committee, the recommendation shall be made jointly by a committee consisting of the facility's highest ranking mental health clinician, the deputy superintendent for security, and the deputy superintendent for program services, or their equivalents.  Any such recommendation shall be reviewed by the joint central office review committee.  The administrative process described in this clause shall be completed within fourteen days of the initial assessment, and if the result of such process is that the inmate should be removed from segregated confinement, such removal shall occur as soon as practicable, but in no event more than seventy-two hours from the completion of the administrative process.

(D) If an inmate with a serious mental illness is not diverted or removed to a residential mental health treatment unit, such inmate shall be reassessed by a mental health clinician within fourteen days of the initial assessment and at least once every fourteen days thereafter.  After each such additional assessment, a recommendation as to whether such inmate should be removed from segregated confinement shall be made and reviewed according to the process set forth in clause (C) of this subparagraph.

(E) A recommendation or determination whether to remove an inmate from segregated confinement shall take into account the assessing mental health clinicians' opinions as to the inmate's mental condition and treatment needs, and shall also take into account any safety and security concerns that would be posed by the inmate's removal, even if additional restrictions were placed on the inmate's access to treatment, property, services or privileges in a residential mental health treatment unit.  A recommendation or determination shall direct the inmate's removal from segregated confinement except in the following exceptional circumstances:  (1) when the reviewer finds that removal would pose a substantial risk to the safety of the inmate or other persons, or a substantial threat to the security of the facility, even if additional restrictions were placed on the inmate's access to treatment, property, services or privileges in a residential mental health treatment unit;  or (2) when the assessing mental health clinician determines that such placement is in the inmate's best interests based on his or her mental condition and that removing such inmate to a residential mental health treatment unit would be detrimental to his or her mental condition.  Any determination not to remove an inmate with serious mental illness from segregated confinement shall be documented in writing and include the reasons for the determination.

(iii) Inmates with serious mental illness who are not diverted or removed from segregated confinement shall be offered a heightened level of care, involving a minimum of two hours each day, five days a week, of out-of-cell therapeutic treatment and programming.  This heightened level of care shall not be offered only in the following circumstances:

(A) The heightened level of care shall not apply when an inmate with serious mental illness does not, in the reasonable judgment of a mental health clinician, require the heightened level of care.  Such determination shall be documented with a written statement of the basis of such determination and shall be reviewed by the Central New York Psychiatric Center clinical director or his or her designee.  Such a determination is subject to change should the inmate's clinical status change.  Such determination shall be reviewed and documented by a mental health clinician every thirty days, and in consultation with the Central New York Psychiatric Center clinical director or his or her designee not less than every ninety days.

(B) The heightened level of care shall not apply in exceptional circumstances when providing such care would create an unacceptable risk to the safety and security of inmates or staff. Such determination shall be documented by security personnel together with the basis of such determination and shall be reviewed by the facility superintendent, in consultation with a mental health clinician, not less than every seven days for as long as the inmate remains in segregated confinement.  The facility shall attempt to resolve such exceptional circumstances so that the heightened level of care may be provided.  If such exceptional circumstances remain unresolved for thirty days, the matter shall be referred to the joint central office review committee for review.

(iv) Inmates with serious mental illness who are not diverted or removed from segregated confinement shall not be placed on a restricted diet, unless there has been a written determination that the restricted diet is necessary for reasons of safety and security.  If a restricted diet is imposed, it shall be limited to seven days, except in the exceptional circumstances where the joint case management committee determines that limiting the restricted diet to seven days would pose an unacceptable risk to the safety and security of inmates or staff.  In such case, the need for a restricted diet shall be reassessed by the joint case management committee every seven days.

(v) All inmates in segregated confinement in a level one or level two facility who are not assessed with a serious mental illness at the initial assessment shall be offered at least one interview with a mental health clinician within fourteen days of their initial mental health assessment, and additional interviews at least every thirty days thereafter, unless the mental health clinician at the most recent interview recommends an earlier interview or assessment.  All inmates in segregated confinement in a level three or level four facility who are not assessed with a serious mental illness at the initial assessment shall be offered at least one interview with a mental health clinician within thirty days of their initial mental health assessment, and additional interviews at least every ninety days thereafter, unless the mental health clinician at the most recent interview recommends an earlier interview or assessment.

(e) An inmate has a serious mental illness when he or she has been determined by a mental health clinician to meet at least one of the following criteria:

(i) he or she has a current diagnosis of, or is diagnosed at the initial or any subsequent assessment conducted during the inmate's segregated confinement with, one or more of the following types of Axis I diagnoses, as described in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and such diagnoses shall be made based upon all relevant clinical factors, including but not limited to symptoms related to such diagnoses:

(A) schizophrenia (all sub-types),

(B) delusional disorder,

(C) schizophreniform disorder,

(D) schizoaffective disorder,

(E) brief psychotic disorder,

(F) substance-induced psychotic disorder (excluding intoxication and withdrawal),

(G) psychotic disorder not otherwise specified,

(H) major depressive disorders, or

(I) bipolar disorder I and II;

(ii) he or she is actively suicidal or has engaged in a recent, serious suicide attempt;

(iii) he or she has been diagnosed with a mental condition that is frequently characterized by breaks with reality, or perceptions of reality, that lead the individual to experience significant functional impairment involving acts of self-harm or other behavior that have a seriously adverse effect on life or on mental or physical health;

(iv) he or she has been diagnosed with an organic brain syndrome that results in a significant functional impairment involving acts of self-harm or other behavior that have a seriously adverse effect on life or on mental or physical health;

(v) he or she has been diagnosed with a severe personality disorder that is manifested by frequent episodes of psychosis or depression, and results in a significant functional impairment involving acts of self-harm or other behavior that have a seriously adverse effect on life or on mental or physical health;  or

(vi) he or she has been determined by a mental health clinician to have otherwise substantially deteriorated mentally or emotionally while confined in segregated confinement and is experiencing significant functional impairment indicating a diagnosis of serious mental illness and involving acts of self-harm or other behavior that have a serious adverse effect on life or on mental or physical health.

(f) The superintendent shall make a full report to the commissioner at least once a week concerning the condition of such inmate and shall forthwith report to the commissioner any recommendation relative to health maintenance or health care delivery made by the facility health services director and any recommendation relative to mental health treatment or confinement of an inmate with a serious mental illness made by the mental health clinician pursuant to paragraphs (d) and (e) of this subdivision that is not endorsed or carried out, as the case may be, by the superintendent.


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