DOC Opens State of the Art Compliance and Safety Center

The CASC will streamline and enhance the Department’s efforts to ensure compliance with standards in safety and security 

New Compliance and Safety Center CASC on Rikers Island
New Compliance and Safety Center CASC on Rikers Island

NEW YORK— The de Blasio Administration announced today the opening of the Department of Correction’s new “Compliance and Safety Center” (CASC) which hosts the Compliance and Video Monitoring Units, as well as a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The CASC will serve as both an integrated command post to aid in the Department of Correction’s rapid-response efforts to keep personnel and inmates safe in emergency situations, and to strengthen compliance with correctional standards and protocols.  The CASC leverages the fact that all areas of Rikers Island accessible to inmates now have 100% camera coverage, giving the Department an unprecedented ability to centrally review and respond to incidents in real time, ensure accurate and timely reporting, and monitor compliance with minimum standards on a day-to-day basis.

The Video Monitoring Unit, located in the CASC, will provide a centralized location for the Department to utilize its comprehensive camera coverage to boost security.  It will allow for a more streamlined coordination of facility-based incident responses and ensure robust support (such as coordinating the deployment of Emergency Services Unit personnel or monitoring multiple facility searches as necessary) to any facility reacting to multiple events. The Video Monitoring Unit will also allow for comprehensive, centralized review of uses of force, which will in turn allow the Department to better calibrate its responses to violent incidents – a key issue that the Department is focused on addressing as part of compliance with a federal settlement agreement. The new EOC, which is adjacent to the video unit, will streamline and modernize the way the Department responds in emergencies, such as city-wide weather-related events and agency-wide situations.

Furthermore, 100% camera coverage combined with a dedicated compliance monitoring team in the CASC will allow for consistent monitoring across all facilities to ensure that posts are consistently and properly staffed in accordance with active supervision requirements (which ensures that officers have an uninterrupted ability to communicate with inmates and immediately respond to emergencies), that proper tours and rounds are conducted and documented and that security protocols are uniformly implemented across all facilities (e.g., doors are locked, facility counts are accurate). The CASC will strengthen the Department’s ability to monitor compliance with multiple safety and correctional standards, including the minimum standards established by the Department’s oversight bodies: the State Commission of Correction (SCOC), New York City Board of Corrections (BOC), the reforms tracked by the Department’s federal monitor, and the Department’s own protocols for ensuring inmate, staff and visitor health and safety.

“The Department of Correction cares deeply about the courageous men and women who perform with great professionalism one of the toughest jobs in law enforcement,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann. “Today, with the opening of this new center, we will give our people new tools to meet the highest standards of core correctional operation protocol and to coordinate emergency support at a moment’s notice. With new, cutting edge technology at our fingertips, we anticipate a safer and more secure environment for everyone.”

The Emergency Operations Center is equipped with 20 flat screen television monitors, 15 landline telephones, 29 computers and a situation room for senior-level meetings. There are also 18 portable radios, one FAA Emergency Alert Notification Box, and two base citywide radio systems that will enhance DOC’s ability to quickly communicate with other city agencies in real-time.

The new Video Monitoring Unit is furnished with 18 television monitors and 11 computers and work stations. The centralized location of the screens will allow for real-time assessment of the live camera coverage in all facilities and for monitoring of multiple facilities at once.

The Department continues to work with the federal monitor, state and local oversight bodies in the pursuit of safe and fair jails. The creation of the CASC will provide a hub for coordinating this work and ensuring good correctional practices are consistently implemented across all facilities. 

“This new center demonstrates that DOC is operating proactively to ensure consistent compliance,” said Deputy Commissioner of Quality Assurance and Integrity, Patricia Feeney, who will oversee the compliance aspect of the CASC. “We recognize there may have been issues of non-compliance previously identified by oversight bodies, such as the SCOC, and that the Department’s responses in the past have not always had a lasting impact. This unit helps accomplish goals of compliance with core correctional standards by making jails safer and more secure.”

The CASC represents the latest in a series of reforms taken by the Department of Correction to improve conditions for those who work in City jails as well as those in custody. These include equipping officers with additional training, safety equipment and protective gear, offering inmates new programs and re-entry services, creating a classification and housing strategy to safely house individuals in custody and utilizing the more than $1 billion in funding the City has added to the Department’s capital budget over the last three years for repairs and renovations to the jails.

“These facilities will make the Department a national leader when it comes to monitoring in real-time what’s going on in the jails and with our rapid response,” said DOC’s Chief of Security, Brian Sullivan. “We want to make sure we have the most innovative technology to do our jobs right now. We owe it to our staff and everyone in our custody to give them the best opportunity to succeed and this does just that.”

About the New York City Department of Correction

The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) provides for the care, custody, and control of persons accused of crimes or convicted and sentenced to one year or less of jail time. The Department manages 12 inmate facilities, nine of which are located on Rikers Island. In addition, the Department operates two hospital Prison Wards (Bellevue and Elmhurst hospitals) and court holding facilities in each borough. During Fiscal Year 2017, the Department handled over 58,000 admissions and managed an average daily inmate population of approximately 9,500 individuals. Our dedicated workforce of both uniformed and non-uniformed staff members represent the city’s Boldest.