CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- State Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) recently announced that his bill to expand mandatory mental health training in New York state prisons has been signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A lack of resources and mental health training places correctional officers, program services personnel, medical staff and inmates at risk. According to the Correctional Association of New York, more than 9,600 state prison inmates have been identified as in need of mental health treatment.
In addition, the Correctional Association has found that over the last four years, the suicide rates in New York prisons have been above the national average by 60 percent.
This law ensures that any employee with direct inmate contact must undergo mental health training annually, including suicide prevention. Additionally, new correctional officers are required to complete a minimum of eight hours of mental health training upon hire by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Joining Carlucci in support of this new law are the National Alliance of Mental Illness - New York State (NAMI), the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), the Correctional Association of New York and the Mental Health Association of New York State.
"Providing correctional officers and personnel within our state’s prison system the essential training they need to recognize the signs of mental illness keeps themselves and those they are responsible for safe,” said Carlucci. "We have a responsibility to protect those in custody from harming themselves, or others, and through mandatory annual mental health training, the Department of Correctional Services and Community Supervision will have the tools to do just that. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill into law, and extend my gratitude to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York State) NYAPRS (New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services), MHANYS (Mental Health Association of New York State), the Correctional Association of New York and all those who made their voices heard in Albany."
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