2019

2019

News Items

Board Announces Second Public Hearing re Restrictive Housing Rules

On October 31, 2019, the Board of Correction voted unaninmously to propose a new chapter of the Minimum Standards, the regulations that govern the management of and conditions in the New York City jails, including Rikers Island (press release here). The Board has scheduled two public hearings on the proposed rule: 9:00 AM on December 2, 2019 and 5:30 PM on December 16, 2019. Both hearings will be held at 125 Worth Street, Second Floor Auditorium, New York, NY 10007. Anyone who wants to comment on the proposed rules at the public hearing must sign up to speak. You can sign up before the hearing by calling 212-669-7900 or sign up in the hearing room on the day-of. You can speak for up to four (4) minutes. You must inform the Board if you need a reasonable accommodation of a disability at the Hearing. Please also inform us if you need a language interpreter. You can inform us by mail at the address given above, by telephone at 212-669-7900, or by email at boc@boc.nyc.gov. Please inform us by the close of business on November 30, 2019 so that we have sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.

Board Proposes New Rule re Restrictive Housing

On October 31, 2019, the Board of Correction voted unaninmously to propose a new chapter of the Minimum Standards, the regulations that govern the management of and conditions in the New York City jails, including Rikers Island (press release here). The vote begins the Citywide Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA) rulemaking process, which is required for any new local rule. The Board has scheduled a public hearing for December 2, 2019, beginning at 9:00 AM, at 125 Worth Street, Second Floor Auditorium, New York, NY 10013.  Additionally, the Board will accept written comment until January 3, 2019 (this is an extension from a previously announced submission deadline of December 2, 2019).  More information on the rulemaking process is here.

BOC Board Member and Staff Provide Testimony to City Council re Bills Regulating Closure of Rikers Island

On October 2, 2019, the Board’s Acting Executive Director and General Counsel Michele Ovesey, Board Member Robert Cohen, and Acting Deputy Executive Director Emily Turner provided testimony to the City Council’s Committees on Criminal Justice and General Welfare. Read Acting ED Ovesey’s testimony

BOC Announces Creation of New York City Task Force on Issues Faced by Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, and/or Intersex People in Custody

On October 1, 2019, the Board announced the creation of the TGNCNBI task force.  The task force consists of leading experts, inclduing experts by lived experience, from City government and the community. Task force members will explore and make recommendations on a specturm of issues, including medical and mental health treatment in jail and continuity of care upon release; culture change opportunities such as training and gender-affirming practices; targeted programming and resources for TGNCNBI people in jail; and the Department of Correction's intake and housing process.

BOC Leads National Panel on Improving Grievance Procedures in Correctional Settings

Five people on a sitting on a stage with a presentation screen that reads Improving Grievance Procedures in Correctional Settings

On September 24, 2019, the Board’s Senior Research Director moderated a panel on grievance systems in jails and prisons at the annual conference of the National Association for the Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE). The panel featured experts in the field, including Kevin Harris (Detroit, MI), Charlene Burkett (Indiana), Valerie Jenness (University of California, Irvine), and Valencia Boyd (Los Angeles, CA).  They discussed strategies for oversight of internal grievance systems including: using data on grievances / complaints, challenges and best practices, and ways in which a consistent and equitable grievance procedures can lead to improved facility policies and more safety for both people in custody and staff.  At the conference, Rivas Salas also shared the Board’s Resource Guide on Improving Grievance Procedures in Correctional Settings

Additionally, Board staff Christin Harris and Dilcio Acosts attended the conference.  Harris was selected to receive NACOLE’s Founder’s Community Scholarship Award.

BOC Accepting Nominations for Task Force on Issues Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, and/or Intersex People Face in Custody

The Board is convening a task force with government and community representatives to identify and address issues that transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and/or intersex people face in custody. The Board hopes to convene this advisory task force with 10-20 volunteers to provide recommendations to the City.

The Board is accepting nominations for the task force. This nomination process is for community members to nominate themselves or others for membership in this task force. The nomination period is open until September 15, 2019 at 5pm EST. The final determination of task force membership will be displayed on this webpage on September 22, 2019.

BOC Receives DOC Emergency Variance Declarations re Separation Status (Use of Body Scanners)

On July 15, 2019, the Department of Correction's directive on the use of body scanners at AMKC, OBCC, GRVC, and RNDC went into effect. Per DOC directive, a positive scan or refusal to scan will result in the person's placement in Separation Status in a cell until they clear the scanner. The Board has requested the Department submit a variance in advance of the Board's September 10 public meeting in order to ensure appropriate use of Separation Status.

View the date of placement in Separation Status and date of release from Separation Status. The date of placement links to the Department's declaration.

Board Issues Statement re July 19-21, 2019 Heat Emergency

On July 18, 2019, Mayor de Blasio declared a heat emergency for Friday, July 19 at 9 AM to Sunday, July 21, 2019 at 11:59 PM. Extreme heat can be dangerous for the health and safety of people in custody in New York City jails and the Correction Officers and other staff who work there. To monitor conditions and operations in the jails during the heat emergency, the Board of Correction (BOC), New York City's independent jail oversight agency, conducted unannounced tours of several jails on July 20 and July 21. The Board released a public statement on July 22, 2019.

BOC Board Members and Executive Director Provide Testimony to the 2019 Charter Revision Commission

On May 9, 2019, Board Vice Chair Stanley Richards, Board Member Robert Cohen, and the Board's Executive Director Martha King provided testimony before the 2019 Charter Revision Commission, calling for the Commission to endorse its staff recommendations to tie the Board's budget to the Department of Correction's. Read their testimony.

National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and correctional oversight experts Michele Deitch and Kate Eves submitted additional comments to the Charter Revision Commission.

BOC Leads Panel on Oversight of Correctional Health and Mental Health

On March 15, 2019, the Board's Executive Director Martha King and Board Member Robert Cohen attended the NYC Symposium on Oversight of Law Enforcement, hosted by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) and John Jay College of Criminal Justice Office for Advancement of Research.

Executive Director King moderated a panel on oversight of correctional health and mental health in jails and prisons. The panel featured experts in the field, including Board Member Robert Cohen, M.D., and discussed strategies for investigating, monitoring, and improving the quality of and access to correctional healthcare. Download the panel resource guide.

BOC Board Member and Staff Provide Testimony to City Council re Preliminary FY2020 Budget

On March 14, 2019, the Board's Executive Director Martha King, Board Member Robert Cohen, and Deputy Executive Director of Research Emily Turner provided testimony to City Council's Commitee on Criminal Justice on BOC's current budget and highlights of the Board's oversight over the past year. Read ED King's statement.

BOC Staff Provide Testimony to City Council re Jail Grievances

On January 29, 2018, the Board's Executive Director Martha King, Deputy Executive Director of Research Emily Turner, and Senior Director of Research Nashla Rivas Salas provided testimony to City Council's Committee on Criminal Justice on DOC's process for addressing complaints in the city jails. Read ED King's statement and BOC's summary presentation on the grievance process.