FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 6, 2021
New Correction Department Data Reveal
Declines in Violence, Uses of Force, and AWOLs
Correction officials redouble violence reduction efforts as curve bends in the right direction
East Elmhurst, NY – The City’s Department of Correction released new data today showing signs of gradual improvement in city jails in several key indicators.
“We’re not declaring victory by any measure,” stated city Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi. “But our hope is that these favorable numbers are early indicators of a positive trend that we can build upon to create a better future for staff and incarcerated people alike.”
Comparing averages of the last five months of the most recent federal court monitoring period (Feb – June, 2021) to the five months since (July-November, 2021), the department’s data revealed:
The Department points to a reduction in absence without leave (AWOL), which is not coming to work and not calling in, the reduction in staff working triple shifts, and the number of unstaffed posts as likely factors contributing to some of these favorable indicators in its jails. According to newly-released DOC data, since September 1, when the Mayor and Department launched numerous efforts targeting AWOLs, triple shifts and unstaffed posts:
In addition, DOC has launched numerous efforts specifically targeted at improving conditions and reducing violence during this time period.
• Following COVID-related shutdowns in programming, recreation, religious services and visitation, all of these services have been gradually reopening during the course of the late summer and fall.
• In October, the Department opened a “model unit” for young adults ages 18-21 premised on the notion of ground-up co-design of its reforms driven by front-line staff and young people. The new model applies a set of core principles to its operational model: A consistent and "normalized" daily routine; relational and architectural safety; cultural healing; restorative accountability; race equity; and family/ community partnership. While young adults in DOC custody have had the highest rates of violence of any population and are a focus of a federal consent decree in Nunez v. City of New York, in its first month of operation, the Young Adult Unit has had no fights or acts of violence. It is set for expansion to several other housing units before year’s end.
• The Department opened a new intake facility at the Eric M. Taylor Correctional facility (EMTC) that has greatly improved the speed with which incarcerated people are evaluated, reduced tensions, and improved conditions of confinement in intake. Since moving intake from OBCC to EMTC, for example, the amount of time people were waiting to be housed in intake has declined by 60%.
The Department also released its latest data on staff vaccinations and reasonable accommodation requests. The percent of uniformed DOC staff who have at least one dose of COVID vaccine has risen 36% from the time of the vaccination mandate’s announcement on Oct. 19 to 83% as of Dec. 6. An additional 700 uniformed DOC staff have applied for reasonable accommodations. Further, 93% of DOC’s non-uniformed staff are vaccinated against COVID-19. As of Dec. 5, 365 uniformed members are AT RISK of going on leave without pay as a result of the mandate.
“We are heartened by the substantial increase in the number of uniformed staff getting vaccinated, especially with the Omicron variant looming,” stated Commissioner Schiraldi. “Doing so will help keep them, their families, their colleagues and people in custody safe from infection at this critical juncture.”
About the Department of Correction
The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment while providing individuals in our care with a path to successfully re-enter their communities. The Department provides for the care and custody of people ordered held by the courts and awaiting trial or who are convicted and sentenced to one year or less of jail time. DOC manages 8 facilities housing people in custody, 7 of which are located on Rikers Island. The Department also operates two hospital wards (Bellevue and Elmhurst hospitals) and court facilities in each borough. Our dedicated workforce of both uniformed and non-uniformed staff members represents the city’s Boldest.