New York State Senator Pete Harckham honored 13 Sing Sing Correctional Facility staff members at a special ceremony on June 6 for their actions in reversing overdoses that could have been fatal. Sing Sing Superintendent Michael Capra hosted the event, which was held at the correctional facility, with 1st Deputy Superintendent Marlyn Kopp joining him and a number of other staff members in attendance as well.
The honorees receiving State Senate commendations included Sergeant Beth Ann Bonanno; Correction Officers Vito Marsico, Kevin Hibert, Rondy London and Sean Santiago; Nurse Administrator Rosario Roa; Registered Nurses Henry Martin, Volodymyr Glukhan, Albert Adekanmi, Avwurhi Akarumeh, Martin Molina and Elizabeth Pennisi; and Licensed Practical Nurse Justin Louissant, Jr.
“It is important that we recognize the timely efforts of these officers, nurses and staff members because of their professionalism, training and readiness to save a life,” said Harckham. “The opioid epidemic and overdose crisis, made worse by fentanyl, continues to impact residents statewide, including incarcerated individuals. While stopping overdoses from happening is our utmost goal, harm reduction is a major part of dealing with Substance Use Disorder. When it comes to stopping overdoses from occurring, we need to have every tool available in order to save people’s lives.”
Harckham noted that corrections officers and correctional facility staff members rarely receive recognition for their professionalism and the work they do “behind the wall”—saving lives included.
Superintendent Capra said, “When the public thinks about prison, they associate it with punishment. When I think about prison, I associate it with Structure, Discipline, Education, Vocation and Families. I spend many hours thinking about how to put 1700 broken pieces back together, so when they leave this place they are prepared to be productive, educated, confident, employed, crime-free people. We cannot change the whole world. We cannot make everyone’s situation what we perhaps would like it to be, but if we just try, one life at a time, to show others there is hope, then perhaps the world will change around us.”
Each of the 13 Sing Sing staff members honored had administered naloxone, an opioid reversal medication, to an incarcerated individual in order to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose over the course of the last 18 months.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic overdose rates have skyrocketed due to isolation, depression and financial dislocation, along with the flood of fentanyl in communities statewide, said Harckham, and “because of quick thinking and brave action lives were saved.”
Harckham noted that his office has held seven naloxone training sessions in SD40, and that more are being scheduled. “Everyone should know how to use naloxone and save a life,” he said. Anyone interested in naloxone training should call the Senate office at (914) 241-4600 to find out when the next training session will take place in SD40.