NYC Board of Correction and COVID-19

NYC Board of Correction and COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from mild diseases, such as a cold, to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia. Recently, a new coronavirus was detected that had not been previously seen in humans. The disease, called COVID-19, can be spread from person to person.

For more information on COVID-19 and stopping the spread of COVID-19, go to

The New York City Board of Correction (BOC), the City's independent oversight agency, has adapted its oversight model to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The Board's priorities are monitoring:

  • The Department of Correction (DOC) and Correctional Health Services (CHS)' evolving COVID-19 response and facility compliance with agency plans; and
  • DOC and CHS' general operations and compliance with BOC Minimum Standards amidst the public health crisis.

The Board's work seeks to independently and publicly document the scope of the public health crisis in the jails and the criminal justice system's response to understand successes and challenges and, ultimately, ensure that lessons can be learned quickly.

Read more about the Board's COVID-19 response

Weekly and Daily COVID-19 Reports

From April 1 through June 5, the Board of Correction published daily reports on COVID-19 in the New York City jail system. Beginning June 6, the Board began publishing weekly reports on COVID-19. The weekly reports include data from each day the prior week (for example, the report for the week of June 6 will include data from June 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12) and also include analysis and visualizations to contextualize trends since the start of the pandemic in mid-March.

On Thursday December 17th, DOC provided the Board with a list of data on the designed capacity for each housing unit. Designed capacity reflects the number of beds each housing area was designed to accommodate. The Department believes this metric serves as the best available proxy for housing area size. All Board reports which include housing capacity analyses (from August 8th onward) have now been updated so that housing capacity is calculated by dividing housing area census by housing area designed capacity. This represents a change from prior BOC analyses which had calculated capacity using the census and "beds at standard" values reported in DOC's 5am census. DOC reports that the "beds at standard" in the 5 am census reflect each units' operational capacity after accounting for legal (e.g., Nunez Consent Decree housing limits, etc.), programmatic (e.g., PACE, CAPS, MO, etc.), and maintenance (e.g., inoperable or down cells, etc.) factors which are unrelated to the size of each unit and may change over time.

Housing Area Density Analysis

In the face of the ongoing pandemic and a steadily increasing jail population, on October 4th, 2020, the Department announced its plan to close the Manhattan Detention Center (MDC) and the Otis Bantum Correction Center (OBCC) by the end of November 2020. To better assess the Department's housing strategy, Board staff examined data from January 1 - October 31st, 2020 to understand trends in: (1) population changes at MDC and OBCC, (2) housing area capacity across DOC, and (3) the proportion of people in custody housed in high-density housing areas DOC-wide. The analysis shows that both the jail population and housing density has steadily increased, with a notable recent increase in the month of October. The majority of open housing areas exceed 50% capacity, and the majority of the jail population (63%, n=2,781) is now housed in an area that exceeds 75% capacity, preventing the implementation of effective social distancing strategies.

Summary Report

On April 1, 2020 the Board began publishing daily public COVID-19 updates. To observe trends over time, the Board published an updated COVID-19 summary report on June 8, 2020. This report summarizes data from March 16th through June 5th. It presents changes to:

  1. the size of the jail population;
  2. the number of people in custody with confirmed COVID-19, or under observation by CHS;
  3. the number of staff with confirmed COVID-19;
  4. the distribution of the jail population overall and in COVID-19 housing; and
  5. the distribution of specific demographic groups overall and by COVID-19 housing.

The report is an update to a summary report analyzing March 16 through May 9, 2020.

Data File

As the COVID-19 crisis has continued, the level of detail in BOC's public daily reporting has expanded and the Board's methods of tracking and reporting on COVID-19 in NYC jails has evolved. The Board gained new data sources, worked out minor data discrepancies with DOC, and has made updates to several daily reports to ensure accuracy and consistency of reporting. This data file (updated July 31, 2021) reflects the most up-to-date and accurate data on the metrics reported by the Board and should be considered the file of record for the Board's daily and weekly reports to-date.

BOC Report: COVID-Related Greivances Received by DOC (March 5 - April 30, 2020)

Observational Data

On June 8, 2020, the Board published its second report presenting observational data collected by Board staff using remote access to the Department's Genetec security video footage system1 to monitor: (1) Social Distancing, (2) Use of PPE Among Staff, (3) Use of Masks Among People in Custody, (4) Phone Access and Cleaning, and (5) DOC Rounding Practices (in cell units). Board staff observed housing areas used for Confirmed COVID-19 Patients, Symptomatic Individuals, and Likely Exposed but Asymptomatic Individuals (quarantined areas). On May 11, 2020, the Board published its first report presenting observational data.

In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the Board of Correction will not accept complaints or comments in person until further notice. You can continue to contact the Board via:

Phone: 212-669-7900


1 Centre Street
Rm 2213
New York, NY 10007

Attention New Yorkers: Your Health is Important