Bill A930/S1334: Ending Dangerous Inmate Double Bunking

When New York was facing a prison overcrowding crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, every place that could house an inmate was under consideration. One of the quickest solutions is one we are still dealing with today - squeezing more inmates into a space than it was originally designed to hold. This dangerous practice, called double bunking, is no longer necessary and Bill A930/S1334 will end it.

Thanks to sentencing reforms and other important changes, the inmate population has fallen, but the practice of double bunking remains. Simply put, it is taking a cell designed to hold one inmate, often small enough that you can touch both walls when standing, and adding a second a second bunk and a second inmate. Putting inmates together in such an intimate environment where they must compete for space, privacy and any chance of rehabilitation has proven to be a recipe for disaster for corrections staff and the inmates themselves. 

Bill A930/S1334 is bipartisan legislation that ensures the safety and security of both inmates and correction officers within our correctional facilities by ending double bunking and returning the focus to reform and rehabilitation.

Double bunking makes it hard on corrections staff to accurately and properly monitor activity in cells. This gives inmates who have no intention of being rehabilitated more ability to extort other inmates and for the recruitment of gang members, often through fear and intimidation that staff cannot limit due to double bunking. And when violence in a double bunk happens, responding officers often go in without a clear picture of what they are entering due to the poor visibility created. New York has more than enough empty beds that this double bunking practice could be ended in a safe and cost-effective manner. 

The vast majority of inmates want to do the right thing - serve their time, take advantage of job training and rehabilitation programs and return to society. And prison staff deserve the right to go to work and return home safe. But double bunking puts everyone at greater risk of conflict and violence every day. All unnecessarily. New York can do better. 

Click here to add your name to our petition calling for the ending of double bunking!

Voices from across New York are joining together to speak up for passing bipartisan legislation that will keep corrections officers, inmates and our communities safer. Are you ready to add your voice?