NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A6058A
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the correction law, in relation to requiring mental
health services for incarcerated individuals with mental health issues
related to the trauma of incarceration
To require mental health services for incarcerated individuals with
post-traumatic prison disorder.
Section 1. Names the act.
Section 2. Amends section 71-a of the correction law, as amended by
chapter 322 of the laws of 2021.
Section 3. Amends Section 78 of the correction law, as added by section
81-b of part WWW of chapter 59 of the laws of 2017.
Section 4. Requires the department of corrections and community super-
vision to submit a one-time report.
Section 5. Sets the effective date.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a stress-sensitive disorder
that can lead to significant morbidity and impairment. It is one of the
most prevalent mental health conditions resulting from direct or indi-
rect exposure to life-threatening events, serious injury, or sexual
assault. PTSD is identified by four key symptoms: (1) persistent intru-
sive thoughts or a re-experiencing of the event; (2) avoidance of stimu-
li associated with the event; (3) negative cognitions and mood such as
emotional numbing and detachment from others; and (4) changes in arousal
or reactivity such as hypervigilance, irritability, exaggerated startle
response, or self-destructive reckless behavior.
Incarcerated individuals may develop severe trauma, hindering their
ability to successfully re-enter society and undergo rehabilitation.
This trauma can create barriers to recovery. However, by providing
essential mental health screening and therapy to those experiencing
post-traumatic prison disorder, individuals can increase their chances
of rebuilding productive and self-sufficient lives. This bill adds
mental health treatment to include post-traumatic prison disorder within
an incarcerated individual's transitional accountability plan.
RACIAL JUSTICE IMPACT:
Extensive evidence demonstrates unequal incarceration rates based on
race and ethnicity. According to nationwide arrest data and trends,
"Black individuals are 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated in jail
and nearly five times more likely to be incarcerated in prison nation-
wide" than their white counterparts. Despite people of color being more
frequently involved in the criminal legal system, studies indicate that
they are less likely to be appropriately recognized as having a mental
health issue and are also less likely to receive adequate treatment
while incarcerated. The U.S. surgeon general's report on mental health
indicates that people of color face greater barriers to accessing mental
health services, are less likely to receive necessary care, and are more
likely to receive substandard treatment within community mental health
care than white individuals
1. With this bill, mental health reentry
services will be required in an incarcerated individual's transitional
accountability plan which will include services such as mental health
and trauma screenings, behavioral health screenings, and clinical inter-
vention for post-traumatic prison disorder.
GENDER JUSTICE IMPACT:
The Urban Institute conducted a study in 2020 highlighting the urgent
need for better services and increased awareness for women within the
prison system. The study found that incarcerated women had a lifetime
prevalence of PTSD of 53 percent, compared to 10 percent in the general
population. Additionally, women are more likely than men to have experi-
enced violence and/or sexual victimization before being incarcerated,
and this sexual violence often continues in the prison system. Research
cited in the study indicated that although women only accounted for 7
percent of the incarcerated population in the US between 2009 and 2011,
they represented 22 percent of the victims of assault committed by other
inmates, and 33 percent of the assaults committed by facility staff in
state and federal prisons (2).
Transgender individuals are disproportionately affected by discrimi-
nation and trauma during their incarceration. According to a study
conducted by the Center for Evidence-Based Corrections at the University
of California, Irvine, transgender prisoners are 13 times more likely to
experience sexual assault compared to other prisoners, resulting in a
higher likelihood of developing severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
Additional studies have shown that the prevalence of PTSD among trans-
gender individuals ranges from 18% to 61%, which is significantly higher
than the estimated 6.8% in the U.S. general adult population. Overall,
transgender individuals report greater severity and frequency of
emotional numbing, behavioral avoidance, and physiological arousal in
comparison to non-transgender individuals (3).
2022: A10703; referred to correction.
This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have
become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or
repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of
this act on its effective date are authorized to be made and completed
on or before such effective date.
(1) NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Blo
(2) Felony Murder Elimination Project https://www.endfmrnow.org/trauma-
and-wom en-in-prison :-:text=The%201ifetim e%20preval en
(3) PMC PubMed Central