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Letter: State can protect workers by enacting Renee’s Law

State can protect workers by enacting Renee’s Law

Recently, State Sen. Cathy Young and Assemblywoman Jane Corwin sponsored a bill, NY S3071, referred to as Renee’s Law. This bill is designed to improve safety conditions in juvenile detention and treatment facilities.

This law came about when Renee Greco, an employee at a residential treatment facility, was brutally attacked and killed while on duty. The ensuing investigation uncovered significant abuses of procedures and policies throughout the state’s juvenile treatment facilities and the Office of Children and Family Services. The findings of this investigation were such that the executive director of the OCFS was removed from her position.

This law is aimed at preventing such tragedies from happening again. As an employee in the field of social work, dealing with at-risk youth, I believe that it is necessary for the state to take a strong stance on protecting the lives of those tasked with treating and monitoring these youth.

This bill is currently sitting in our State Legislature, awaiting approval for the financial costs associated with it. New York’s failure to approve this bill and ratify it into law would be criminal in and of itself. Government offices must be held accountable because they exist to protect the citizenry from criminals and negligent practices or abuses. Individuals, such as the former director of the OCFS, need to be held accountable when they fail to protect those whose jobs fall under their umbrella. I believe that Renee’s Law is a necessary piece of legislation that must be passed.

Jennifer Hickman