Female Correctional Officers Speak Out Against Halt Act: ‘This Is What We’ve Been Going Through, This Is What You Don’t See’

“Since HALT (Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement) was enacted in 2021, correctional officers have faced increasingly unsafe working conditions as there are little to no consequences for the attacks, sexual harassment, and sexual assault on female COs by incarcerated individuals. As a result, incidents against staff have gone up 30%. Women correctional officers comprise roughly one-third of the correctional officers’ workforce, including maximum security prisons, and deserve to feel and be safe at work. In recent legislative sessions, there have been measures passed to make the incarcerated individuals’ lives more comfortable, and unfortunately this has led to less accountability for their bad acts committed behind bars. Currently, assault and harassment, including sexual harassment, against correctional officers are a misdemeanor offense. I support legislation to make these offenses felonies. We must restore safety and security in New York prisons for both the workers’ and the incarcerated individuals’ sake. Both groups can be protected without sacrificing the dignity and respect of either.”

“In this year’s enacted state budget, there is a provision sanctioning body scans that will help to decrease contraband and weapons coming into correctional facilities, therefore protecting workers. This isn’t enough, though, to protect our hard-working COs dealing with a hostile work environment. I will continue to fight for women and all correctional officers who are suffering under HALT,” concluded Walsh.