Yesterday the Mayor issued an Emergency Executive Order suspending the Board’s rules that eliminate the use of solitary confinement. While we understand that the Department of Correction is grappling with many challenges in the jails, ending solitary confinement is no less an urgent matter.
The Department must immediately provide a clear, public accounting of the status of the plan to permanently discontinue solitary confinement and implement the RMAS model. Specifically, the Department must provide the reasons why each part of the rules cannot be met at this time, a detailed timetable for implementing each part, and a description of the interim processes being undertaken to protect the rights and safety of people in custody, correction officers, and all others who enter our city jails.
Also, the Board is deeply troubled by the Administration’s use of Emergency Executive Orders to override the Minimum Standards. Emergency Executive Orders further diminish the Board's ability to provide effective oversight and to protect people in custody and staff. The Board looks forward to receiving this information in advance of the November 9 public board meeting.
As of May 10, the Board's downtown office has moved to 2 Lafayette, Room 1221, New York, NY 10007. We are excited that all of our downtown staff can now work together in one office and we look forward to welcoming the public to our new, renovated space in coming months. Our main phone number 212 669 7900 remains the same.
On April 15, 2021, the Board announced an extension of the public comment period on the restrictive housing proposed rule. The new deadline is close of business on April 21, 2021 (extended from April 16, 2021). Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, mailed to 1 Centre Street, Rm 2213, NY NY 10007, and/or left via voicemail at 212 699 7900 (then choose option 2). Learn more about the proposed rule and public comment. On April 22, the Board extended the public comment period to April 23.
On March 22, 2021, the Board's Executive Director Meg Egan, Board Member Robert Cohen, and Deputy Executive Director of Research Emily Turner provided testimony to City Council's Committee on Criminal Justice on BOC's current budget and highlights of the Board's oversight over the past year. Board Chair Jennifer Jones Austin also submitted written testimony. Read ED Egan's statement and Board Member Cohen's statement.
At its March 9 public meeting, the New York City Board of Correction, an independent oversight board for the City's jail system, formally proposed rules to end solitary confinement in the City's jails and replace it with a more humane model for responding to violence.
The new alternative disciplinary model, the Risk Management Accountability System (RMAS), prioritizes safety, accountability, support and transparency. RMAS is a three-level progression model that separates people from general population in response to violence and holds them accountable through a swift, certain, and fair, process. RMAS aims to ensure that people will be provided with the support they need to successfully reenter general population and, eventually, their communities.
The Board's proposal begins a public comment process that will seek feedback from people with lived experience, families, staff, advocates, and other experts. After the public comment period, the Board will make changes to the proposal and vote on a final rule in the spring.
On February 22, 2021, the Board of Correction received an emergency variance declaration from the Department of Correction. The Department declares a variance from Minimum Standard 1-16(c)(1)(ii) which prohibits the Department from placing young adults (18-21 year olds) in Enhanced Supervision Housing, a form of restrictive housing. On February 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and March 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 2021, the Board received additional emergency declaration from the Department of Correction.
From July 12, 2016 (for 19-21 year olds) to February 21, 2021, the Board granted variances allowing the Department to place young adults in ESH. At the February 2021 BOC public meeting, the Department requested a six-month limited variance renewal. The Board declined to vote on the renewal request, allowing it to lapse.
Minimum Standard 1-15(b)(3) allows the Department to declare an emergency variance for a period of less than 24 hours "when an emergency situations prevents continued compliance with a subdivision or section."
In December 2020, Mayor de Blasio appointed Marco Carrion as a member of the New York City Board of Correction, following his nomination by the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, for the First Judicial Department and the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, for the Second Judicial Division. Mr. Carrion will serve the remainder of a six-year term that will expire on October 13, 2021.