Variances

Variances

The Department of Correction and NYC Health and Hospitals may apply for a variance from a specific subdivision or section of the minimum standards, mental health care minimum standards or health care minimum standards when compliance cannot be achieved or continued.

The Board may include requirements as conditions on granting a variance. Any conditions are listed in the Record of Variance action.

The following variances are currently effective:

Minimum Standards

  • Minimum Standard 1-02(c)(1)
  • Minimum Standard 1-02(c)
    • Granted November 10, 2015
    • Waives requirement that "inmates ages 18 through 21 be housed separately and apart from inmates over the age of 21," in relation to the housing of inmates in specialized mental health units, the NIC infirmary, and WF communicable disease unit (CDU).
  • Minimum Standard 1-02(c)(1)
    • Granted July 26, 2016
    • Waives requirement that "inmates ages 18 through 21 be housed separately and apart from inmates over the age of 21," in relation to the housing of inmates in the RMSC infirmary, RMSC nursery, and RMSC pregnant inmate housing.
  • Minimum Standard 1-03(g)
    • Granted April 1991
    • A continuing variance authorizes DOC to require detainees in punitive segregation status to wear, except for court, seasonally appropriate facility clothing provided, laundered and repaired at Department expense. (April 1991)
    • The above variance from §1-03(g) was granted upon the following conditions:
      • Upon admission to a punitive segregation housing area, each prisoner shall be issued three facility uniforms and two facility thermal undershirts, clean and in good repair and appropriately sized. Thereafter, DOC shall provide twice weekly exchanges of two uniforms;
      • Each prisoner shall be permitted to retain four changes of underwear, four pairs of socks, and one pair of shower slippers; and
      • DOC shall provide secure, readily-accessible storage for the personal property of each punitive segregation prisoner;
      • When punitive segregation prisoners go outside the facility, DOC shall provide access to appropriate outer garments.
  • Minimum Standard 1-03(g)
    • Granted November 10, 2015
    • A continuing variance authorizes DOC to require prisoners on suicide watch to wear suicide resistant smocks and undergarments when inside their housing areas. The variance further provides that DOC may require detainees on suicide watch to wear uniforms whenever outside the housing area, except for court, when they may wear personal clothing. Personal accessories, including shoelaces, belts, ties and bras, need not be provided until immediately before the prisoner enters a courtroom, and may be confiscated after the prisoner exits therefrom.
    • This variance was first granted September 2003
  • Minimum Standard 1-03(i)(1)
    • Granted November 10, 2015
    • A continuing variance authorizes DOC to provide to prisoners on suicide watch status only bedding made of suicide-resistant materials.
    • The above variances from §1-03(g) and (i) were granted upon the following conditions:
      • Only mental health providers may place a prisoner on suicide watch and require the use of a suicide smock and bedding;
      • Officers assigned to areas where prisoners are on suicide watch must make frequent, irregular observations of these prisoners (at least four per hour).
      • Unless inappropriate for compelling security or medical reasons, prisoners on suicide watch should be housed in dormitories. Dormitory prisoners may be required to wear smocks only in dormitories where all other prisoners are clothed in suicide smocks.
      • Unless prohibited in writing by the provider, prisoners on suicide watch must be permitted personal hygiene items and personal items, including reading materials and photographs.
      • Prisoners wearing suicide smocks shall be provided with daily exchanges of clean smocks and undergarments. Disposable undergarments will be provided with a uniform whenever prisoners leave their cell.
      • Suicide watch prisoners shall be permitted to wear civilian clothing when inside a court room for trial.
    • This variance was first granted in September 2003.
  • Minimum Standards 1-05 and 1-08
  • Minimum Standard 1-16(c)(1)(ii)
  • Minimum Standard 1-17(d)(2)
    • Granted January 8, 2019
    • Wllows the Department, in highly exceptional circumstances presenting safety and security concerns, to waive the requirement that inmates be immediately released from punitive segregation for seven (7) days after they have been held in punitive segregation for thirty (30) consecutive days.
    • In effect until July 8, 2019
    • This variance is a renewal of a variance first granted on September 8, 2015. It was renewed on December 16, 2015, June 17, 2016, November 15, 2016, January 10, 2017July 11, 2017, January 9, 2018 and July 12, 2018.

Minimum Standards regarding Raise the Age (pre-RTA youth)

"Pre-RTA youth" refers to Rikers youth and gap-year youth.

  • Minimum Standard 1-04(b)(2)
    • Granted June 11, 2019
    • Allows the Department to house pre-RTA youth in single occupancy dry cells.
    • In effect until January 8, 2020
    • This variance is a renewal of a variance first granted on July 10, 2018. It was renewed on January 8, 2019.
  • Minimum Standard 1-08(f)
    • Granted June 11, 2019
    • Allows the Department to house pre-RTA youth in a facility that does not have a properly equipped and staffed law library.
    • In effect until January 8, 2020
    • This variance is a renewal of a variance first granted on July 10, 2018. It was renewed on January 8, 2019.
  • Minimum Standard 1-11(a)
    • Granted June 11, 2019
    • Allows the Department, for pre-RTA youth, to identify individuals with whom mail correspondence is permissible, and to limit correspondence to only those individuals, based on the safety or security of the youth, the facility, and/or consistent with any existing court order
    • In effect until January 8, 2020
    • This variance is a renewal of a variance first granted on July 10, 2018. It was renewed on January 8, 2019.
  • Minimum Standard 3-06(e)(5)
    • Granted June 11, 2019
    • Allows the Department to house pre-RTA youth in a facility that does not have necessary child care and a nursery program for youth who give birth while in custody.
    • In effect until January 8, 2020
    • Nursery Program Plan
    • This variance is a renewal of a variance first granted on July 10, 2018. It was renewed on January 8, 2019.

Mental Health Minimum Standards

  • Minimum Standards 2-05(b)(2)(i-ii)
    • Granted January 8, 2019
    • Allows psychiatrists to see and evaluate stable adult patients on psychotropic medication in general population at least every 28 days, rather than every 14 days
    • In effect until July 8, 2019
    • This variance is a renewal of a variance first granted on November 10, 2005. It was previously renewed on July 13, 2017January 14, 2018 and July 15, 2018.

Health Care Minimum Standards

  • Minimum Standards 3-04(b)(2)(v)(a)
    • Granted January 8, 2019
    • Allows the Correctional Health Services to use either interferon gamma release assays (IGRA) or TST for tuberculosis screening, and to exempt from repeat screening those prisoners who have a documented negative test in the six months prior to their admission
    • In effect until July 8, 2019
    • This variance is a renewal of a variance first granted on July 22, 2013. It was previously renewed, including on July 13, 2017January 14, 2018 and July 15, 2018.