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Restore the legally mandated Board of Visitors & defend Human Rights

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There is a human rights crisis behind the walls of the Nassau County Correctional Center. The thousands of inmates housed there, many whom have not yet been convicted of a crime, are living in the shadows and facing serious injustices everyday. People with serious medical conditions are being denied necessary treatment and medications. Requests to see mental health specialists go unanswered. Family members who take the day off from work to visit their loved ones are being turned away after hours of waiting outside. But no one is listening. We need your help!

1. The number of inmates complaining about inadequate medical and mental health care has skyrocketed over the past couple years. Five inmates have died since 2010 – four committed suicide because of a lack of mental health care and the fifth died from a heart attack after being given Tylenol by a jail nurse. Inmates are constantly denied necessary medication and treatment.

2. The jail is ill-equipped to deal with inmate grievances. Each inmate has a right to file a written grievance and Nassau County Correctional Center is REQUIRED to respond, in writing, to each inmate grievance within 5 days. However, only a handful of corrections officers are responsible for responding to the hundreds of inmate grievances filed each day. Many grievances go UNANSWERED and inmates have told us that there are often periods where no grievance forms are available.

3. Visitation hours have been significantly decreased, including the elimination of Saturday visiting hours. Family members, friends, and attorneys may now only visit the facility during very limited weekday hours. This makes it very difficult or impossible for people who work during the week to visit and offer support to their loved ones. Visitors that do attempt to visit an inmate are exposed to horrible conditions, including being made to stand outside in the blistering cold and rain.

ANSWER: County law requires an oversight committee, called the Board of Visitors, to respond to inmate grievances and work to improve the jail conditions. Yet, the County has so far refused to take steps to restore this Board. The restoration of this Board would provide much-needed local oversight of NCCC and would help to address these systemic problems at the jail. The Board would have the authority to respond to inmate grievances, which would greatly improve the jail’s ability to comply with the law by responding to grievances within the required 5 days. The Board would also have the ability to work with the sheriff to improve the medical and mental health care provided at the jail and recommend ways to improve the jail’s visitation policy.

***This Board has been stipulated for in the Nassau County Charter since 1990 but, to our knowledge, has NEVER formally operated. It is the LEGAL OBLIGATION of the County Legislature and the County Executive to appoint and maintain this board and it appears that the County has been in VIOLATION of its own Charter for the past 21 years.***

Tell Nassau County to stop ignoring thousands of human lives. It’s time to take action and restore the Board of Visitors. Let’s end the suffering and restore human dignity!

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RAHSMIA ZATAR needs your help with “Nassau County Legislature and County Executive, Edward Mangano: Restore the legally mandated Board of Visitors & defend Human Rights”. Join RAHSMIA and 106 supporters today.