Correctional Officer Union VP Blasts NYS For Putting COs in Danger
The Vice President of NYSCOPBA, the union representing many of Upstate New York's correctional officers, is blasting state representatives following injuries to several COs after two separate incidents upstate this week.
NYSCOPBA VP Bryan Hluska said, "It's a direct correlation to the HALT bill and the blood is on the legislator's hands, it's 100-percent their fault."
This week, five correctional officers and one sergeant had to be treated for smoke inhalation after an inmate set fire to his jail cell at Marcy Correctional, and another incident where an inmate faked committing suicide and then attacked two COs, injuring them at Midstate Correctional Facility in Marcy.
The HALT Act, or the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act (HALT), was signed into law last year by Governor Cuomo. The law limits the use of segregated confinement for all incarcerated persons to 15 days, implements alternative rehabilitative measures, including the creation of Residential Rehabilitation Units (RRU), and significantly lessens the punishment for bad behavior in New York's prisons.
Hluska said the fact that inmates know the punishment is weak and know how to take advantage of the system, the door has been opened to attacks on COs inside New York's jails. He said HALT has to be repealed. Because liberal Democrats have a super-majority in the state legislature and they're based in New York City, moderate Democrats upstate and Republicans have no say in the legislation, he said. Hluska stressed that the number of inmate attacks on correctional officers has skyrocketed since HALT became law in 2021.
Much of the change in restrictions and laws were prompted by inmates allegedly being mistreated and lost in the system in New York City, and sweeping changes to correct the downstate issue has swung the pendulum all the way in the other direction. Hluska admitted that it's important that inmates are treated humanely, but the over correction to the system is now putting the employees charged with keeping the public safe in danger.
Listen to the complete interview with Hluska below.