Features, Finance, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

Serious Concerns at NYC Department of Correction

March 25, 2019

By Stephanie West

New York, NY – Comptroller Stringer has released an “Agency Watch List” report on the Department of Correction (DOC) – due to concerns about increased spending and meager measurable results.

The trends spotlighted in the 2019 Watch List report show that even as the jail population has fallen by 20 percent in the last four years (FY 2015 to FY 2019), total agency spending is projected to rise 19 percent over the same period – while the agency’s performance remains troubling.

“Last year, when we introduced the Agency Watch List, we spotlighted agencies that were moving in the wrong direction – spending was soaring but results were failing to improve. But lagging results at the Department of Correction means lives are being put at risk – and that’s why we’re placing them on the Watch List for the second year,” said Comptroller Stringer. “Safety in our jails must be one of our highest criminal justice priorities because this is about more than officers and inmates – it’s about parents, siblings, friends and our communities. To reform our criminal justice system, and ensure that New Yorkers see real change, we need our programs to make a difference. That’s why we need to keep the pressure on at DOC for stronger results.”

First announced in 2018, the Agency Watch List calls attention to city agencies that raise the most budgetary concerns. This year’s watch list reviews trends at the Department of Correction (DOC) that continue to be troubling.

For three consecutive years, the DOC has employed more correction officers than the average daily jail population. In the first four months of FY 2019, the share of the jail population with a serious mental health diagnosis rose sharply to 17.0 percent, from 14.3 percent in FY 2018. Across a range of indicators, rates of violence, including detainee-on-detainee incidents and assaults on staff, rose in the first four months of FY 2019.

March 25, 2019

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