Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Board of Correction

Board of Correction

  • 1 rikers ombudsman

    Cleaning up at Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The deaths this year of 14 people held on Rikers Island and recent reports of inhumane conditions have renewed attention on the dereliction of one of the country's largest municipal jail systems.

    That includes from the lead sponsor of a bill in the state Legislature that would create an oversight board and statewide ombudsperson with jurisdiction over local jails and state prisons. The bill's

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  • sol conf brook

    A jail cell (photo: Brook Ward)


    This is a year we would all sooner forget. But 2020 can be remembered as the year New York City ended solitary confinement.

    Layleen Polanco’s death in 2019 was a tragic illustration of how restricted housing and solitary confinement place people at an additional risk while being moved out of sight from urgent medical care and attention. One year later, there is an imminent opportunity to make lasting changes to the city’s criminal justice system that prevent another incident like Layleen’s from occurring.

    In the days following

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  • fpwa tw coa

    Jennifer Jones Austin at NYPD headquarters (photo: @FPWA)


    October 21, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Jennifer Jones Austin on Police and Prison Reform

    Jennifer Jones Austin, longtime CEO of FPWA, joined the show to discuss FPWA's anti-poverty work and her roles on an NYPD reform commission and as chair of the New York City Board of Correction.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • may doc opps

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New Yorkers are beyond tired of the tale of two mayors: one who claims to be committed to substantive reform of New York City’s criminal legal and jail systems and another who resists, delays, and undermines efforts to address the deep injustices of those same systems. The first mayor touts his support for closing Rikers Island jails, ending solitary confinement, and releasing people from jail at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak — though he came to these positions only under constant pressure

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  • Ponte Rikers de Blasio

    Commissioner Ponte, the author, & Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Today, the New York City Department of Correction formally ended the practice of punitive segregation for young adults ages 19 through 21 years old, resulting in the complete elimination of punitive segregation, which some call solitary confinement, for inmates ages 16 through 21 in our custody. This is an unprecedented milestone in New York State correctional history and, even more important, across the nation. To date, no other city or state has

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  • Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition

    Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition (photos: Meg O'Connor) 


    On Tuesday, City Council members, faith leaders, and activists spoke out against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed restrictions for visitors to Rikers Island jails. At a rally on the steps of City Hall organized by the Jails Action Coalition, speakers called de Blasio’s plan to limit visitors and physical contact by those who do visit inmates counterproductive and wrong.

    The proposed visitation limits were first

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  • Ismael-Nazario-Solitary-Confinement

    NEW YORK — After about three days of being isolated in “the Box” away from his fellow detainees at Rikers Island, Ismael Nazario was beginning to break.

    "That's when it started to take it's toll,” he said, conjuring memories of his time in punitive segregation — solitary confinement — in

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