FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 31, 2022
1,000 NYC Uniform Correction Staff Back on Active Duty Following Record-High Absences
Bedford Hills Transferees Returning to Rose M. Singer Center
4 DOC Facilities No Longer on 12-hour Shifts
Rikers Island, NY – The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) today announced that more than 1,000 uniform staff — including correction officers — have returned to work in city jails since January 1. The return of 1,000 officers follows record-high absences triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Omicron variant.
The large influx of returning personnel will allow all 83 women and LGBTQI+ individuals remaining in custody at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to return to the Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC), where they will be closer to both their families and the courts. Last fall, the city, working with the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), transferred approximately 118 individuals to Bedford Hills to alleviate staffing shortages in New York City’s jails. With the return of 1,000 uniform staff to active duty, people in custody at Bedford Hills will begin the process of returning to RMSC starting February 2nd, with transfers continuing to take place over the following weeks.
“Both our employees and people in custody have had to endure so much throughout this pandemic, and while we are by no means out of the woods, having 1,000 of our staff members return to work marks a significant shift in the right direction," said Correction Commissioner Louis A. Molina. “Our uniform workforce did not have a choice to telework these last two years. They have struggled to cope with the pandemic within their own families, while often having to work triple shifts in facilities and trying to keep themselves safe from contracting the disease. We are welcoming them back with open arms, and only together will we bring a new level of safety to our jails — for both staff and for those in custody. I would like to thank Governor Hochul and the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision during these last few months.”
The rapid influx of returning employees also means that correction officers at certain facilities are now able to stand down from 12-hour shifts. Officers at the Vernon C. Bain Center (VCBC), George R. Vierno Center (GRVC), North Infirmary Command (NIC), and Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC) have returned to eight-hour tours of duty.
In addition to falling cases among staff, COVID-19 among people in custody has been declining rapidly within DOC facilities, from a high of 513 active infections on December 31 to 30 on January 26, 2022. The seven-day positivity rate for people in custody at DOC facilities is 4.32%, compared to the city’s rate of 7.87%.
While DOC welcomes back 1,000 uniformed personnel, the agency still has approximately 1,500 uniformed personnel out sick
About the Department of Correction
The New York City Department of Correction is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment while providing individuals in our care with a path to successfully re-enter their communities.