To further objectives related to its City Charter responsibilities, its history of work in this area, and as part of its responsibility to monitor jail conditions, the Board undertook an assessment of the inmate grievance program operated by the Department. The Board sought to understand the current patterns and trends in filing and responding to grievances and the effectiveness, consistency and timeliness of the current system.
This report summarizes findings on the outcomes of scheduled health and mental health services using data reported in the Correctional Health Services monthly access reports for the last six months of 2017. Despite great challenges to providing care in the jail setting, CHS has consistently reported that overall, around 80% of all scheduled appointments are completed, with higher completion rates at half of DOC’s facilities. Notwithstanding these rates and improved transparency, significant gaps in reporting on the Standards and persistent challenges affecting access to care remain. Additionally, jails and services differ in the barriers to care, and not all jails are equal in their ability to provide care. These findings indicate there is more work to be done to improve coordination and compliance with the Minimum Standards in key areas.
Ensuring the delivery of health and mental health services to people in custody is a critical part of the Board of Correction's mission. The Board, an independent oversight authority for the City’s jails, monitors compliance with longstanding regulations that require services consistent with accepted professional standards and sound professional judgment and practice. Health and Hospitals’ Correctional Health Services is responsible for providing health and mental health care in the jails while the Department of Correction provides security for and transportation to these services.
The Department of Correction (DOC) issued its Transgender Housing Unit (THU) policy on alternative housing options for transgender people in custody in December 2014. DOC’s THU policy requires transgender men to be housed in protective custody at the Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC) and transgender women to be housed in a facility designed for male occupancy. The THU is available exclusively to transgender women but is not guaranteed for all transgender women.
Through data analysis and observations of the THU, this assessment of the THU seeks to inform the ongoing discussion of the unit’s operations, future plans for the unit, and implementation of Minimum Standards intended to ensure the safety of transgender people in custody.
As a start toward establishing a better understanding of splashings and their prevalence in New York City jails, Board of Correction staff reviewed all occurrences of splashings reported in 2017. While preliminary, this report represents the most comprehensive public empirical analysis on splashings in the country.
Splashings are defined in DOC policy as “any incident wherein a person in custody intentionally causes an employee to come in contact with any fluid or fluid like substance.” Fluid or fluid like substances range from water and milk to bodily fluids such as urine, feces, spit, and blood.
Department of Correction policy permits staff to lockdown housing areas and facilities to investigate violent incidents, avoid serious violent incidents, conduct searches for contraband, or restore order. Despite a 32% decrease in the DOC average daily population since 2008, there has been an 88% increase in lockdowns through November 2017.
The Board of Correction monitors the length of lockdowns and their impact on programs and services mandated by Minimum Standards including access to health and mental health services. Lockdowns hinder DOC’s and Correctional Health Services’ ability to meet the Minimum Standards. As a security response that impacts a large number of people and services, lockdowns also contribute to perceptions of unfair and excessive punishment, frustrations, and tensions in the facilities.
Download the Lockdowns Report (January 2018)
Additional Lockdown Findings (January 2018)
Audit of DOC Facility Report of Area Lock-In Forms (April 2018)
In October 2014, as the Board debated historic punitive segregation reforms, the Department proposed a new restrictive housing unit, Enhanced Supervision Housing, that it believed to be a critical part of its punitive segregation and violence reduction plans. The Board ultimately approved a modified version of the proposal. BOC staff published an April 2017 report studying the first twenty-two months of adult ESH placement (February 2015 - November 2016) and is intended to inform the Board's discussion of the effectiveness of ESH. In July 2017, BOC staff published a second report studying ESH for Young Adults, reviewing all young adult placements between September 2016 and March 2017.
This quarterly report creates a series of metrics to measure and evaluate compliance with the City's Minimum Standards for confinement and to track other conditions and policies that impact change toward safer and more humane jails for adolescents and young adults.
This quarterly report is the Board's findings concerning the impact of recent Minimum Standards amendments on the use of punitive segregation in the City's jails and an analysis of the overrides and 7-day waivers aprproved by the Chief of Department.
This monthly report analyzes DOC visit restrictions and BOC visit appeals.
December 2017 - Guided by the crucial role that contact visits play in violence reduction, rehabilitation, and reentry, the Board reviewed the Department's new visit Directive and analyzed over a years' worth of visit restriction data. The analyses identify ways for both agencies to enhance access to visiting; improve safety of staff, people in custody, and visitors; and ensure restrictions on visiting are tailored and go no further than what is necessary to address serious threats to safety and security.