Distribution of Medications

New Yorkers deserve a prison system that puts safety and security first. That is why we need legislation that would end the unsafe practice of using corrections officers in county correctional facilities to distribute medications to inmates without proper training to handle medical emergencies that could arise. Council 82 members are a lot of things - dedicated public service professionals, mothers and fathers, community leaders, little league coaches, neighborhood grill masters and much more, but we are not medical professionals.   

Imagine your son or daughter, your brother or sister or spouse being treated by someone in a health care facility with no training whatsoever in health care. It’s beyond irresponsible, it is unsafe for everyone. Regardless of what they’ve done to be in a correctional institution, the inmates that we are responsible for are people who have families and loved ones. 

That is why we are building a grassroots coalition to support bipartisan legislation that would allow corrections officers to focus on the jobs they are trained to do, and to get any additional training that will help them do their jobs better.

These are 24/7 facilities, yet few have medical staff on hand at all times. Most that do have medial staff only have it during the day, resulting in corrections officers delivering medications in the morning, at night, on holidays and on weekends. Many others have medical staff only once a week. Instead, New York believes that it is better to have corrections staff stop monitoring the facilities and doing their rounds and instead hand out the pills and insulin needles inmates need. But staff receive zero training on the medicine, any changes or other important issues, so if problems happen the inmate has to wait until medical staff are on duty, if they can. More likely, they have to be taken to an area hospital, necessitating additional staffing and overtime for patient transport and facility security. 

Maintaining a safe and secure facility – for the officers, for the inmates and for the communities that we live in - is hard enough. But nobody should be asked to rely on dedicated correctional staff for their medical wellbeing. New York can do better.  

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?