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Nassau County Charter Board of Visitors

PRISON REFORM

NASSAU COUNTY CHARTER ARTICLE XX§

 

 

2004. Nassau County Correctional Center Board of Visitors; membership; appointment,compensation and expenses; power and duties.

a. There shall be within the Division of Corrections a Nassau County Correctional Center Board of Visitors. It shall consist of seven members, including a chairperson, each of whom shall be appointed by the County Executive subject to confirmation by the County Legislature. As far as may be practicable, the members shall possess a working knowledge of the correctional system.

b. All members of the Board shall be Nassau County residents.

c. All members of the Board shall be voting members.

d. The term of office of each member shall be three years, except that members first appointed shall be appointed as follows: four for a term of one year, two for a term of two years, and one for a term of three years. Upon expiration of the term of office of any member, his successor shall be appointed for a term of three years. Any appointed member of the Board may be removed by the County Executive for cause

after an opportunity to be heard in his defense. Any member chosen to fill a vacancy created other than by expiration of term shall be appointed for the unexpired term of the member whom he is to succeed. Vacancies caused by the expiration of term or otherwise shall be filled in the same manner as original  a ppointments.

e. Members shall serve without compensation. The Board of Supervisors may appropriate sufficient sums to meet the expenses actually and necessarily incurred by members of the Board in the performance of their duties hereunder.

f. The Board and each member thereof shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To investigate, review or take such other actions as shall be deemed necessary or proper with respect to inmate complaints or grievances regarding the correctional center as shall be called to their attention in writing.

2. To have access to the correctional center and all books, records and data pertaining to the correctional center which are deemed necessary for carrying out the Board's powers and duties.

3. To obtain from correctional center personnel any information deemed necessary to carry out the Board's powers and duties.

4. To request and receive temporary office space in the correctional center for the purpose of carrying out the Board's powers and duties.

5. To report periodically to the Sheriff and, where appropriate, to make such recommendations to the Sheriff as are necessary to fulfill the purposes of this section.

6. To advise the Sheriff in developing programs for improving correctional center services and duties and for coordinating the efforts of correctional center officials in respect to improving conditions of inmate care, treatment, safety, rehabilitation, recreation, training and education.

7. To meet on a regular basis at a time and place designated by the Chairman of the Board.

(Local Law No. 9-1990, in effect August 28, 1990. Amended by Local Law No. 35-2000.) Editor’s note – a typographical error exists

in the Arabic section number noted in the local law. There, it is noted as Section 2204 instead of 2004.

      Nassau affirmative action project

                                                                                              Box 304 Point lookout ny 11569-033

                                                                                                               peacelongbeach @optonline.net

                                                                                                                                          516-457-9833

Date: October 17, 2011

 

 

Text Box: EXECUTIVE BOARD  IN FORMATION  **********         BARBARA ALLAN  PAT  DELLATTO  SAMANTHA FREDRICKSON,ESQ.  PAM NEELY  RAMEL SMITH  DR. JOSEPH VOLKER  REV. JONATHAN WHARTON  ANDRENA WYATT  SERENA ALFIERI  DOUG MAYERS  RAHSMIA ZATAR  **********************statement FOR THE ENACTMENT & Implementation OF ARTICLE XX OF THE NASSAU COUNTY CHARTER

ESTABLISHING A NASSAU COUNTY CORRECTIONAL CENTER BOARD OF VISITORS by the Nassau County Legislature

***********************************************************

Submitted to: Nassau County Legislature

Submitted by: Dr. Joseph A. Volker, Director

                                  Nassau Affirmative Action Project

 

Questions, Concerns and Issues //calls for action & the IMPLEMENTATION of article xx

 

 

 

Lack of Accountability:

 

 Why have the Laws of Nassau County’s Charter providing oversight of the Nassau County Corrections Center been ignored for 22 years?

 Who oversees that the Sheriff Department’s 180 million dollar budget is well spent?

 

Restore NC Corrections Center Visitor Board! –it’s the law!

 

Questions of accessibility for the visitor’s board

 

Visits:

Why are visitors to the Correctional Center being discouraged?                                    

Why have Saturday Visits been cancelled, weekly visits been curtailed!

Why are visitors forced to stand in downpours, snow & blistering heat?               

Why are there no Bi-lingual Officers, Staff & Services?

Why are children being used as translators?

Medical Treatment

To whom can inmates or their families turn if they are not receiving proper and adequate medical &, psychological services provided by private contractors?

Training & Reentry programs:

What are they? Where are they? Who provides them?

What’s the success rate? How are they funded?

 

To whom can inmates or their families turn to answer these questions?

Restore NC Corrections Center Visitor Board! –it’s the law!

 

human & Civil rights issues

 

Voter Registration:

Why out of 2000 inmates are less than 100 registered to vote?

Why are Nassau County Board of Elections representatives restricted

 from directly registering eligible inmates?

Juvenile Education

 Are juvenile inmates receiving adequate educational opportunities to which they are entitled?

Who reviews & assesses education services for juvenile inmates?

 

To whom can inmates or their families turn to answer these questions?

Restore NC Corrections Center Visitor Board! –it’s the law!

 

due processs & Conflicts of Interest

 

Inmate Rights & Legal Access:

How can the County Attorney’s office, which has the duty and responsibility to defend the County, supervise& investigate inmate and employee discrimination& bias complaints?

How could the Corrections Center grievance officer solicit sexual favors from inmate complainants?

Why have there been 4 recent suicides at the Correction Center

 

To whom can inmates or their families turn to answer these questions?

Restore NC Corrections Center Visitor Board! –it’s the law!

 

For these reasons the members of the Nassau Affirmative Action Project petition the county Legislators to take the necessary steps to urge the County Executive to honor his oath of office to uphold the Nassau County Charter and to establish a Nassau County Correctional Center Board of Visitors as stipulated  in article xx of the nassau county charter

 

Respectfully submitted for the record this day of october 17, 2011

 

Joseph A. Volker, Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Newsday (New York)

 

March 27, 1999, Saturday, NASSAU AND SUFFOLK EDITION

 

PUSH TO FILL BOARD FOR NASSAU JAIL

 

BYLINE: By Jordan Rau. STAFF WRITER

 

SECTION: NEWS; Page A21

 

LENGTH: 442 words

 

Under pressure to increase supervision at the Nassau County jail, County Executive Thomas Gulotta plans to revive a special panel of investigators created nine years ago but never staffed.

The Board of Visitors was established in 1990 after an altercation between a guard and an inmate, but its five seats were never filled after the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to the county legislature, set aside Gulotta's nominees.

Earlier this month, in the aftermath of the January death of an inmate, Legis. Lisanne Altmann (D-Great Neck) asked Gulotta to staff the board. In a letter Wednesday to Altmann, Gulotta agreed, writing, "I believe that an active Board of Visitors will provide for greater scrutiny without breaching security."

The law creating the board gives its members access to the jail and its records so they can investigate inmate complaints and conditions, evaluate programs and make recommendations to the sheriff. But even some prisoners rights advocates questioned whether another supervisory group will make a difference, since law enforcement agencies have always has had the authority to look into allegations. Federal authorities are investigating whether correction officers played a role in the fatal beating of inmate Thomas Pizzuto, a 38-year-old recovering heroin addict.

"I'm not sure what a Board of Visitors is going to do except add another layer of bureaucracy," said Matthew Muraskin, the attorney-in-chief of the Nassau County Legal Aid Society. He said the greater problem is that inmates are afraid to make allegations against guards because they think the guards will file assault charges against them in retaliation.

But Altmann said the panel might provide legislators with valuable information about the conditions at the jail. "It's about time we had a defined group like they have in New York City that we as legislators will be able to access, because it's been a mystery what's going on over there," she said.

Sheriff Joseph Jablonsky, who runs the jail, is receptive to the board, a jail official said.

Much of what the board ultimately does depends on its members. In his ill-fated attempt to staff the panel, Gulotta had nominated journalism teacher Norma Gonsalves and Alfred Freedman, a former city correction officer and jail inmate advocate. He also had nominated a former county prosecutor, a retired Freeport detective and a county consumer affairs investigator. Civil rights advocates at the time objected that he had passed over Louise Simpson, the regional director of the NAACP. Gulotta has not revealed whom he plans to nominate this time or when he will do so.

 

LOAD-DATE: March 27, 1999

 

LANGUAGE: English

 

Copyright 1999 Newsday, Inc.


 

 


 


 

 Newsday (New York)

 

May 17, 1999, Monday, ALL EDITIONS

 

EDITORIAL / DON'T LIMIT CHOICES FOR NASSAU JAIL'S NEW BOARD

 

SECTION: VIEWPOINTS; Page A26

 

LENGTH: 307 words

 

In the face of public scrutiny and a federal investigation, Nassau County Executive Thomas Gulotta has an opportunity to restore some public confidence in the county jail. The question is: Will he do it? Commendably, Gulotta moved quickly to accept a suggestion from Democratic Legis. Lisanne Altman (D-Great Neck) to revive a civilian Board of Visitors for the jail, where an inmate was beaten to death, allegedly by corrections officers, earlier this year.

The five-member board, all unpaid volunteers, will have authority and access to jail records to investigate inmate grievances and make recommendations to the sheriff on a variety of matters, from inmate treatment to recreation programs.

But Gulotta's process of selecting board members has rightly come under criticism from Altman and the Nassau chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Before Altman-or anyone else-had a chance to recommend members for Gulotta's consideration, his office said all five spots had been offered to prospective candidates.

Two of them, Brian Noone of Syosset, a former law enforcement officer, and Manuel Mendoza of Hempstead, a chiropractor, were accepted by Nassau lawmakers last week.

Gulotta has yet to announce the names of his remaining three candidates.

However, an excellent prospect whom administration officials say Altman put forth too late, John Brickman, former head of New York City's corrections department, was not even considered. Something is obviously amiss when a candidate with Brickman's credentials isn't even in the running.

Some measure of public trust in the jail must be restored. The Board of Visitors is one step in that direction. But that means it must have a strong, balanced board. And the best way to get that kind of balanced representation is with an open search for the best candidates.

 

LOAD-DATE: May 18, 1999

 

LANGUAGE: English

 

Copyright 1999 Newsday, Inc.


 

 

 Newsday (New York)

 

August 16, 1990, Thursday, NASSAU AND SUFFOLK EDITION

 

DA, Bias Unit Probe Jail Incident;

Black inmate, white guard hurt; each alleges assault by the other

 

BYLINE: By Robin Topping

 

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 20

 

LENGTH: 597 words

 

The Nassau district attorney and the county Human Rights Commission are investigating a confrontation last week between an inmate and a corrections officer that left both men injured.

Each has claimed he was assaulted by the other first, in a lobby leading to a maximum-security housing area at the Nassau jail last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in what Nassau officials say is an unrelated move, the board of supervisors is due to vote Aug. 27 on the creation of a citizens' panel to investigate complaints by inmates. The five-member group of unsalaried county residents would be the first such entity in the state outside of New York City, according to William McMahon, chairman of the state Commission of Correction.

The Nassau County Human Rights Commission's executive director, James D. Rice, said the agency is investigating the incident involving inmate Daniel Patten, 24, of Freeport, and a corrections officer whose identity was not released. The district attorney's office said it also is investigating, and Sheriff Joseph Jablonsky said the jail's internal affairs unit would get the data developed by the district attorney. Neither man has been charged in the incident.

Neither Rice nor the district attorney's office would comment on the investigations. But Louise Simpson, LI regional director of the NAACP, said she had talked to Patten and that the incident was racially motivated. Patten is black, and the officer is white.

Patten was changing from clothes he wore while receiving a visitor to another jail uniform when the corrections officer complained he wasn't changing fast enough, Simpson said. The officer then attacked Patten, she said.

Patten suffered eye injuries and was treated at Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow, hospital spokesman Ed Smith said. The corrections officer was treated for scratches and bruises to the right leg and hands, Smith said.

Simpson said the officer "beat him [Patten] up very badly." She said that when she saw the inmate on Thursday his head and face were swollen, and he could barely see out of one eye.

She said the NAACP is looking into what she described as a pattern of incidents involving "jailhouse justice."

Jablonsky said he had no evidence the incident was racially motivated. So far, he said, evidence indicates the officer was defending himself against an unprovoked assault.

Patten was in jail awaiting sentencing on a misdemeanor assault charge when the incident occurred. He remains there in protective custody - standard procedure after such an incident - and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.  Patten's attorney could not be reached.

Matthew Muraskin, who heads the county's Legal Aid Society, which has handled many complaints by inmates, said he has not received a complaint from Patten. However, he applauded the county's move toward establishing a board of visitors to look into inmates' complaints. "It's always been my belief that if an inmate believes his complaint has been listened to, in most cases he will accept the decision - even if it is an adverse one - and that leads to less tension."

Under the law creating it, the panel would not have power to impose sanctions but would recommend action either to the county executive or the sheriff. Members would be proposed by the county executive and confirmed by the board of supervisors. Currently, an inmate can take a complaint to the jail administration or a state citizens panel that looks into complaints.

"From our perspective," said McMahon, "we would like to see the resolution of a problem at the local level."

 

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

 

Copyright 1990 Newsday, Inc.


 

 

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 "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
It is always an active peace.
I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
to do everything that they can,
what I can do from here.
Peace is the language we must speak."
Pope Francis

 

 

 
                                            ~Pope FRANCIS