This bill would require the Department to assist people being released in the process of receiving unused commissary funds, and ensure that any person with unused commissary funds is immediately given up to $200 in commissary funds in cash upon request. The bill would also require the Department to make reasonable efforts to return unused commissary funds to formerly incarcerated individuals, and to establish a plan for raising awareness regarding obtaining commissary funds. It would also require a yearly report on the outstanding commissary funds and the attempts made to return such funds.
- Laid Over in Committee
Proposed Int. No. 903-A
By Council Members Richards, Adams, Miller, Holden, Ampry-Samuel, Powers, Rose, Rivera, Rosenthal, Cohen, Louis and Yeger
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to funds remaining in commissary accounts when incarcerated individuals are released from custody
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Chapter 1 of title 9 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 9-160 to read as follows:
§ 9-160 Commissary accounts of incarcerated individuals.
a. When an incarcerated individual is released from custody in a departmental facility, the department shall, as part of the discharge process, assist the individual in receiving unused commissary funds. Such assistance shall be given in a language the incarcerated individual can understand and shall include but not be limited to providing such individual, orally and in writing, information on the amount of remaining funds in their account, how to obtain such funds and all locations at which they can immediately receive up to $200 in cash of such funds. For the purposes of this section, the term “commissary funds” has the same meaning as the term “prisoner funds” set forth in subdivision f of section 500-c of the correction law and in section 7016.2 of title 9 of the New York code of rules and regulations, or any successor provisions of such law or rules.
b. Immediately upon request from a formerly incarcerated individual at a location at which commissary funds are made available, the department shall return up to $200 of such funds in cash, and any funds to which such individual is entitled that exceed $200 shall be distributed by check and sent by mail. Such formerly incarcerated individual shall also be provided the option of returning to the cashier window within three business days to retrieve such check in person.
c. No formerly incarcerated individual receiving unused commissary funds shall pay any fee in connection with the procedures established in accordance with this section for receiving such funds.
d. No later than six months after the effective date of the local law that added this section, the department shall establish a plan, upon consultation with the agency or agencies designated by the mayor’s office, for raising awareness regarding the procedures by which formerly incarcerated individuals can obtain commissary funds, for contacting such individuals known to the department and for retrieving information necessary to return such funds to such individuals. The department shall make every reasonable attempt to return unused commissary funds to their rightful owners.
e. Within one year of the date of enactment of the local law that added this section, and by August 31 of each subsequent year thereafter, the department shall report to the council and post permanently on its website a report of the aggregate amount of commissary funds remaining in the accounts of all individuals who are no longer in the custody of the department, the length of time for which such funds have been unclaimed and the attempts made to return such funds.
§ 2. This local law takes effect 180 days after it becomes law.
LS 5954, 5656, and 6334
3/10/20 5:45 PM