Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

Rules & Regulations

Family Reunion Program

Date filed with the Department of State (DOS): 5/07/2008

DOS #: COR 22-08-00001

Date adopted: 8/06/2008

Description: To improve the process for reviewing inmates applying to participate in the Family Reunion Program, to better identify programming requirements and to define eligibility.

TEXT OF RULE

Section 220.2 (a) (1), (2), (i)-(ii) are amended and new subparagraphs (iii) and (iv) are added as follows:

(1) Time. The inmate has been in the department’s custody, in other than initial reception [or initial hub assessment status], for at least [90 days] 6 months, and has been at the time of application a resident of a facility that offers the FRP for at least 30 days.

(2) Adjustment. The inmate has exhibited a pattern of good institutional adjustment, and has not had any recent major disciplinary problems, [nor] any chronic disciplinary problems or severe disciplinary problems . Satisfactory behavior must be maintained throughout the duration of the application processing and the visit.

(i) [Recent m] Major disciplinary problem. Any Tier II or III disciplinary proceedings in the eight weeks prior to the application resulting in confinement to cell, room or dorm continuously on certain days or during certain hours, for longer than 14 days, or, any loss of good time. Satisfactory behavior must be maintained throughout the duration of application processing and the visit. Reapplication can be made eight weeks from the confinement release date, or date of misbehavior report if loss of good time is the only sanction imposed.

(ii) Chronic disciplinary problem. Three or more Tier II or III disciplinary proceedings in the last four months resulting in the imposition of any keeplock time, any loss of privileges, or any loss of good time. [The term, however, is evaluative. Facility family service coordinators, superintendents, and the division of ministerial and family services will exercise discretion in determining whether or not an inmate with chronic disciplinary problems may participate in FRP.]

(iii) Severe disciplinary problem. A conviction or disciplinary finding for any of the following will result in a one year ban from the FRP beginning after any disciplinary confinement is over. Substance abuse disciplinary situations will require the completion of the ASAT program or equivalent before reapplication. A Tier II or III disciplinary report which includes:
(a) A conviction for a federal or state crime while incarcerated;
(b) a penal law offence;
(c) rioting;
(d) escape or;
(e) use or possession of drugs or alcohol during the FRP.

(iv) Facility family service coordinators, superintendents, and the division of ministerial, family and volunteer services will exercise discretion in determining whether or not an inmate with disciplinary problems may participate in FRP.

Section 220.2 (a) (3) (i)-(iii) is repealed and a new section 220.2 (a) (3) is proposed to read as follows:

(3) Program participation. The inmate applicant must have participated in or pursued required programs as identified on his or her program/earned eligibility plan. Program/earned eligibility plan refusals, negative removals or regressions make an applicant ineligible until that need is addressed. Formal therapeutic programs sanctioned by the department, such as the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Program (ASAT) or other approved department treatment program (including CASAT, DWI, the Stay n’ Out Program at Arthurkill and Bayview and other specialized substance abuse programs approved by the department) for substance abuse and the Aggression Replacement Training Program (ART) for aggression/violence, are the standards that must be met. Inmates who have actively pursued their plan yet who have not completed programs and satisfied their needs will be evaluated according to their entire record. Active participation or actual completion, however, may be required to satisfy this precondition.

Section 220.2 (b) (3) and (4) are amended as follows:

(3) the inmate is assigned to a special housing unit for disciplinary reasons or is in administrative segregation or in a mental health unit with concurrent SHU time (BHU, RMHU or IICP).

(4) an inmate participant found in violation of FRP regulations/standards is ineligible to participate for [90 days] 6 months from the date of the disciplinary hearing finding. A new application[, filed more than 90 days after the violation,] must be reviewed and approved by central office prior to the inmate’s future program participation.

Section 220.2 (c) (1) (ii), (v), (vi)(a), (vii) are amended and new subparagraphs (viii)-(x) are added as follows:

(1) A special review will be conducted which will include consideration of the specifics of the crime, the age of the inmate at the time of the offense, progress in programs, custodial adjustment, victim impact and the entire case record. A special review to determine eligibility will be conducted if an inmate: (ii) has any outstanding warrants, show cause order (e.g., [U.S.] Bureau of Immigration [Services] & Customs Enforcement);
(v) is in protective custody[, or administrative segregation];
(vi) is in a special program such as Merle Cooper, APPU, or ICP, or assigned to a [closed] mental [hygiene] health unit;
(a) review must include consideration of evaluation by psychiatric
staff [as well as review by the assistant commissioner for
mental health and psychological services]; [or]
(vii) is diagnosed as having a communicable disease[.];
(viii) has been convicted of a violent crime against an elderly person or a child;
(ix) has been convicted of escape or attempted escape; or
(x) has a history of domestic violence.

Section 220.3 (a), (1), (2) and (3) are amended as follows:

(a) Eligible relations. Applications for participation in the FRP may be made for the following family members, all of whom must have established a recent visiting pattern[:]. A recent visiting pattern is defined as three visits of any kind within the past year. Discretion can be used in situations where family members are elderly, infirmed or out of state.

(1) Legal spouses - a husband/wife of the inmate to whom (s)he has been married for at least [90 days] 6 months, and who is not him/herself an inmate of a state correctional facility. Spouses must possess documentation of a valid marriage license or a declaratory judgment stating the validity of an out-of-state common-law marriage.

(2) Children of the inmate, 18 years of age or older.

(3) Minor children of the inmate (under 18 years of age) may participate when accompanied by the inmate’s spouse, parents or grandparents, provided:

New paragraphs (4) and (5) are added to section 220.3 (b) as follows:

(4) Step children of the inmate with permission from both biological parents if they are alive.

(5) Grandchildren and step grandchildren of the inmate with permission of their parents.

Section 220.4 (c)(1), (f), (g) and (j) (2) (ii) are amended as follows:

(1) Checks inmate’s security file for major, [or] chronic , or severe disciplinary problems.

(f) [Assistant] Deputy commissioner for program services (or designee).

(g) Family service coordinator. Upon approval of the [assistant] deputy commissioner for program services (or designee) or the superintendent, transmits the names of approved applicants to the facility health service unit….

(ii) Arranges to interview family members prior to visit. Places AIDS educational material in unaddressed envelope and gives it to an adult, non-spouse visitor. Gives each visiting spouse the unaddressed envelope prepared by facility health services containing AIDS educational material. Provides support and referral to family members who request assistance.

Section 220.5 (b) and (c) are amended as follows:

(b) Advises the inmate that (s)he may appeal the disapproval by letter to the [assistant] deputy commissioner for program services , with a copy to the facility family services coordinator, to be mailed within 10 days of notification of disapproval. The inmate’s letter must state the reason(s) for challenging the disapproval.

(c) The [assistant] deputy commissioner for program services will respond within [two] four weeks of receipt of the letter of appeal stating the reason(s) for sustaining or reversing the approval. The [assistant] deputy commissioner’s decision shall be final.

Section 220.6 (a)-(c) are amended as follows:

(a) the inmate has been transferred from one FRP facility to another (inmate’s application must be reviewed by [assistant] deputy commissioner for program services or designee);

(b) the facility family services coordinator or superintendent recommends disapproval (inmate’s application must be reviewed by [assistant] deputy commissioner for program services or designee);

(c) new family participants over the age of 12 are added.

Note: In the event of either subdivision (a) or (b) of this section, the inmate’s application must be reviewed by the [assistant] deputy commissioner for program services or his/her designee….

Section 220.7 (c), (d) and (f) are amended as follows:

(c) Unusual termination. A visit may be terminated before the designated time upon the request of the participants. It may also be terminated by the judgment of the family reunion coordinator with the officer of the day (for example, if there is a family disturbance or a weather emergency ). The visit will be terminated immediately if any participants are found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

(d) Emergency termination. Illness, deaths, immediate family problems or a facility emergency .

(f) In all cases of terminations pursuant to subdivisions (c)-(e) of this section, thorough documentation is required with an unusual incident report filed with local institution, family reunion office, and [assistant] deputy commissioner for [ministerial and family] program services.

Section 220.8 is repealed and a new section 220.8 is proposed as follows:

(a) A urine sample will be obtained from a participating inmate at the following times:

(1) between two to ten days prior to a FRP visit;
(2) immediately prior to a FRP visit; and
(3) immediately after a FRP visit.

(i) A urinalysis will be required at points (1) and (3); the sample drawn at (2) may be analyzed immediately or if the inmate tests positive at point (3).

(b) If the inmate tests positive for drugs at point (1), the FRP visit will be cancelled. Security will inform the Family Services Coordinator, who will be responsible for advising the inmate's family of the cancellation. If the inmate is found guilty at the time of the disciplinary hearing, he/she, in addition to being subject to penalties under the Standards of Inmate Behavior, 7 NYCRR Chapter V, will also be suspended from the Family Reunion Program for one year. As a condition of reapplication, the inmate must have completed the ASAT program or equivalent in the interim, and must present documentation of same at the time of reapplication. If the inmate is found not guilty, the FRP visit will be rescheduled for a date that is acceptable to both the family and the facility.

(c) If the inmate tests negative at point (1) and positive at point (3), the urine sample taken at point (2) will be tested to determine if the inmate ingested drugs between points (1) and (2). If the (2) sample is positive, the family cannot be implicated. However, if the (2) sample is negative, it can be concluded that the drugs were ingested during the Family Reunion visit, with the family, therefore, being involved at some level. In this situation, the inmate will be subject to the sanctions outlined in B (above); additionally, the family will be required to participate in a drug education program at some point during the one-year suspension, and present documentation of same at the time of reapplication.

(d) The sanctions outlined in B and C above will be discussed in the context of a counseling session conducted by the Family Services Coordinator subsequent to the inmate's disciplinary proceeding. At that time, drug education alternatives will be presented, e.g. ASAT and Narcotics Anonymous (for inmates) and community-based programs (for inmates' families), with referrals being made to appropriate personnel and organizations as needed.

Section 220.9 (c), (e)(1), and (g) are amended as follows:

(c) Visitors are allowed to bring only a minimum amount of personal property, including items of personal hygiene. The facility shall provide: pillows, blankets, bed linens, towels, soap and condoms[, sanitary pads and tampons (female facilities only)].

(1) General. Glass containers are prohibited. Except for fresh fruits and vegetables, [meats and prepared foods,] food products must be commercially packaged in airtight hermetically sealed containers impervious to external influence….

(g) Visitors may not bring in any alcohol, narcotics, dangerous drugs, [or] weapons cellular phones, wireless phones, pagers, laptop computers, personal digital assistants, any device with global positioning (G.P.S.) capabilities, any device with audio recording capabilities, radios, cameras or other similar electronic devices.

Changes in the proposed text are indicated by underlining new text and [bracketing] text to be deleted. Rules that are new are presented as regular text without underlining or brackets. New and/or repealed rules are noted in the description heading at the top of the document.

The complete listing of New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR) is available online through the NYS Department of State website.