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Legislative Memo: Covering Correctional Facilities and Police Under the Human Rights Law

Police, prisons, and jails purport to serve the public and yet are some of the worst offenders when it comes to human rights violations. Worse still, despite the text and the legislative intent of the New York State human rights law making clear that the statute prohibits discrimination by police, prisons, and jails, these entities have been able to act with impunity because some courts and the Division of Human Rights (DHR) itself have interpreted them to be “non-covered entities” immune from its provisions. S.6611 (Brouk)/A.2746-A (Gallagher) addresses this misinterpretation by clarifying that prisons and jails are housing accommodations, and that police, prisons, and jails are public accommodations, within the meaning of the human rights law. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) strongly supports this bill and urges its expedient passage.

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