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Inmates leaving prison in New York may soon have extra help thanks to City Council legislation passed November 23. The bill, which still awaits Mayor Bloomberg’s signature, mandates the city’s Department of Corrections to collect information on any inmate in its facilities for 10 days or more. The information will focus on housing, employment and sobriety. With the individual’s consent, the DOC could give the data to social service providers as part of a comprehensive “discharge planning” project. Richard Cho, a program officer for the Corporation for Supportive Housing, hailed the move as a “monumental moment in city history” and one of the first laws of its kind nationwide. But Robert Gangi, executive director the Correctional Association, a prison reform group, was more skeptical. “Absent the allocation of additional resources to provide services,” he said, “the gathering of information itself won’t do much for the inmate or the community they return to.” [12/6/04]

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