• Need-to-Know News: Dec. 30, 2011

    December 30, 2011

    Updates from Us

    • A Message from LAC President and Director:

      The establishment and protection of rights for people with histories of addiction, criminal justice involvement, and HIV/AIDS through cutting-edge policy advocacy, precedent-setting litigation, direct legal services and public education has been a hallmark of LAC for almost 40 years. Now more than ever, we need to stand strong and speak out against discrimination and inequality. Stand with us by making your year-end gift today.

      Your support is critical to the work we do and the people we serve, which is why I'm asking you to support our year-end campaign. It is a time when your donation can have an even greater impact; I urge you to give generously.

      Wishing you and yours happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.


      Paul N. Samuels

    • On December 19, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) held a public meeting to announce the release of a second round of FAQs to help substance abuse treatment providers understand how to apply the federal substance abuse confidentiality regulations (42 CFR Part 2) to electronic health records. At the meeting, Dr. H. Westley Clark, the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), publicly acknowledged LAC's assistance in drafting the new FAQs. SAMHSA also announced that they would post the proceedings of the public meeting on their website.

    Headlines on Our Issues


    • The New York State Legislative Task Force responsible for redistricting has begun counting individuals held in New York State prisons at their pre-conviction addresses, rather than at their place of incarceration. The Task Force has agreed to assign nearly 80% of individuals to other addresses in New York State. The remaining portion of the prison population is being excluded from the redistricting process because their addresses were either invalid, out-of-state or incomplete. However, Republican Senators have indicated that they still intend to appeal a December 2 decision rejecting their claim that the 2010 change to the law was unconstitutional.
    • New York State's Mandate Relief Redesign Team has issued its final report, laying out recommendations for changes New York State could make to reduce the number and cost of unfunded requirements that the state imposes on local governments. The report includes a number of suggestions for reducing costs associated with public safety, including changes to probation sentence lengths, pre-sentencing reports and information-sharing about Youthful Offender convictions among law enforcement agencies.

    • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new working definition of recovery from substance use disorders and mental disorders. The new definition describes recovery as "a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential." The definition was the result of a year-long effort by SAMHSA and a wide range of partners. Additionally, SAMHSA has delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery.
    • Robert Hood, the retired warden of the Federal “Supermax” in Florence, Colorado created a list of 10 correctional resolutions for 2012. The list includes such suggestions as: increasing evidence-based programs designed to reduce recidivism; preparing individuals for reentry while they are incarcerated; addressing mental illness in correctional settings; reducing levels of U.S. incarceration; and supporting children whose parents are incarcerated.

    From Our Partners

    • The Coalition for Women Prisoners will be holding a meeting of its Incarcerated Mothers Committee next Thursday, January 5 at 10:30 at the Correctional Association's offices in Harlem. For more information, click here
    • Two treatment providers, Outreach and Samaritan Village (whose President and CEO, Tino Hernandez, is an LAC Board Member) announced a new partnership to provide treatment services in Queens.