The New York Civil Liberties Union, with pro bono counsel from Schulte Roth & Zabel, joined a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and the New York State Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders for practices that compel incarcerated individuals to relinquish their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination by penalizing individuals who give up this right.
In New York, DOCCS makes available for people incarcerated for sex offenses a program known as Sex Offender Counseling and Treatment Program (SOCTP). As a requirement for completion of this program, participants must admit that they committed the offense for which they were convicted even if they pled not guilty at trial and maintain their innocence. If they refuse and invoke the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination, they are expelled from the SOCTP and suffer significant lifetime adverse consequences. People expelled from the program are assessed significant points in their risk assessment, which determines an individual's post-incarceration risk level and could lead to lifetime membership on New York’s public sex offender registry along with other onerous requirements of having a higher risk level.