NY lawmakers vote to let inmates use phone before solitary

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California_Prisons_Legionnaires_Disease_37774-159532.jpg16447534

FILE – In this June 25, 2013 file photo, a correctional officer stands outside of one of the secure housing units at the new California Correctional Health Care Facility in Stockton, Calif., during dedication day festivities. Legionnaires’ disease bacteria that killed one inmate and sickened another is more widespread than expected in a California state […]

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Inmates sent to solitary confinement would get to make a phone call first under legislation heading to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk after passing the Democrat-led Legislature.

Under the bill, inmates would also be allowed to make one phone call per week while held in isolation.

The Assembly sponsor, Queens Democrat Nily Rozic, says that staying in contact with loved ones can make a “huge difference” in helping to rehabilitate inmates. She says the state should work to strengthen the family ties of inmates, not weaken them.

The bill passed the state Senate on Wednesday after passing the Assembly in February.

Cuomo, a Democrat, hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the bill.

Lawmakers are also considering legislation that would limit solitary confinement to a maximum of 15 days.

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