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      Senator Nozzolio proposes bill to end conjugal visits in state prisons, put tax dollars to use elsewhere

      <p>State Senator Michael Nozzolio wants to do away with conjugal visits in New York State's prison system. He says in these tough economic times, we shouldn't be rewarding hardened criminals with visits from loved ones, and that there are better ways to use tax dollars.</p>

      Central New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio wants to do away with conjugal visits in New York State's prison system.

      As the former chairman of the Senate Crime and Correction Committee, Nozzolio has proposed legislation to permanently terminate the conjugal visit program, commonly known as the Family Reunion Program. Nozzolio currently serves as Chairman of the Codes Committee.

      The Senator from Seneca Falls says he blocked former Governor David Paterson's 2010 decision to spend $800,000 for conjugal visit trailers at Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus.

      In Senate Bill 5413, Nozzolio stated his justification for ending conjugal visits.

      "The State of New York can not reward its most hardened criminals -- criminals who have committed violent and serious crimes - with conjugal visits. During these difficult economic times we must critically examine every tax payer dollar that New York State spends... The family reunion program is a costly and unnecessary prisoner luxury that New York can no longer afford in this difficult budget year. There is surely a greater need for this funding elsewhere to maintain critical services for our families and seniors, or to provide much needed property tax relief for homeowners," the bill states.

      New York is one of only six states to offer conjugal visits for prison inmates and their families.