Board of Correction Reports

Board of Correction Reports

COVID-19 Reporting

Housing Area Density Analysis
In the face of the ongoing pandemic and a steadily increasing jail population, on October 4th, 2020, the Department announced its plan to close the Manhattan Detention Center (MDC) and the Otis Bantum Correction Center (OBCC) by the end of November 2020. To better assess the Department’s housing strategy, Board staff examined data from January 1 – October 31st, 2020 to understand trends in: (1) population changes at MDC and OBCC, (2) housing area capacity across DOC, and (3) the proportion of people in custody housed in high-density housing areas DOC-wide. The analysis shows that both the jail population and housing density has steadily increased, with a notable recent increase in the month of October. The majority of open housing areas exceed 50% capacity, and the majority of the jail population (63%, n=2,781) is now housed in an area that exceeds 75% capacity, preventing the implementation of effective social distancing strategies.

Board of Correction Weekly COVID-19 Updates (Beginning June 6, 2020)
Board of Correction Daily COVID-19 Updates (April 1 - June 5, 2020)

From April 1 through June 5, the Board of Correction published daily reports on COVID-19 in the New York City jail system. Beginning June 6, the Board will publish weekly reports on COVID-19. The weekly reports will include data from each day the prior week (for example, the report for the week of June 6 will include data from June 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12) and will also include analysis and visualizations to contextualize trends since the start of the pandemic in mid-March.

 On April 1, 2020 the Board began publishing daily public COVID-19 updates. To observe trends over time, the Board published an updated COVID-19 summary report on June 8, 2020. This report summarizes data from March 16th through June 5th. It presents changes to: (1) the size of the jail population; (2) the number of people in custody with confirmed COVID-19, or under observation by CHS; (3) the number of staff with confirmed COVID-19; (4) the distribution of the jail population overall and in COVID-19 housing; and (5) the distribution of specific demographic groups overall and by COVID-19 housing. The report is an update to a summary report analyzing March 16 through May 9, 2020.

As the COVID-19 crisis has continued, the level of detail in BOC’s public daily reporting has expanded and the Board’s methods of tracking and reporting on COVID-19 in NYC jails has evolved. The Board gained new data sources, worked out minor data discrepancies with DOC, and has made updates to several daily reports to ensure accuracy and consistency of reporting. This data file (updated June 8, 2020) reflects the most up-to-date and accurate data on the metrics reported by the Board and should be considered the file of record for the Board’s daily public data reports to-date.

BOC Report: COVID-Related Greivances Received by DOC (March 5 - April 30, 2020)

On June 8, 2020, the Board published its second report presenting observational data collected by Board staff using remote access to the Department’s Genetec security video footage system1 to monitor: (1) Social Distancing, (2) Use of PPE Among Staff, (3) Use of Masks Among People in Custody, (4) Phone Access and Cleaning, and (5) DOC Rounding Practices (in cell units). Board staff observed housing areas used for Confirmed COVID-19 Patients, Symptomatic Individuals, and Likely Exposed but Asymptomatic Individuals (quarantined areas). On May 11, 2020, the Board published its first report presenting observational data.

New York City Jail Heat Conditions and Operations - Mid-Summer 2020 Report

On August 21, 2020, the Board released a report on NYC jail heat conditions in operations through June 30, 2020. As it has for decades, the Board of Correction (the Board, or BOC) is closely monitoring heat-conditions in the city's jails this summer.  This report summarizes the Board's initial summer 2020 findings. It also outlines the Department of Correction's (DOC or the Department) progress in implementing many of the recommendations made in the Board's September 2019 heat report, which documented conditions and jail operations during the July 2019 Heat Emergency (July 19-21).

Report on the Death of Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco

On June 23, 2020, the Board released a report presenting findings and recommendations in connection with its investigation concerning the death of Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco. Ms. Polanco died in the Restrictive Housing Unit (a form of punitive segregation) on Rikers Island on June 7, 2019. She was a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx transgender woman.

The Board’s investigation is distinct from those conducted by other City and State agencies. BOC investigations do not focus on criminal wrong-doing or individual fault. Rather, the Board’s investigations focus on the circumstances of deaths in custody and identifying where lessons can be learned to prevent future deaths. The Board’s report makes 25 recommendations concerning DOC and CHS policies and practices. These include recommendations to: transform the processes the agencies use to exclude from punitive segregation people with medical or mental health issues; increase and improve information sharing between NYPD, DOC, and CHS while protecting sensitive patient information; enhance and retrain on DOC and CHS policies for housing area rounds to ensure staff identify people at-risk; and institute new oversight of medication provision to encourage proper access and compliance.

Press Release

Body Scanners and Separation Status (July 15 - November 30, 2019)

The Department began using body scanners in July 2019. Body scanners, like those in use at airports around the world, use low-dose ionizing radiation to detect objects such as drugs and items made from materials that are undetectable by magnetometers or stored in body cavities. From July 15 through November 30, 2019, the Department reports it has performed 11,212 body scans in the New York City jails. When someone has a positive scan or refuses to be scan, the Department believes the person possesses contraband and places them in a highly restrictive housing area called Separation Status which includes the person’s confinement to an isolation cell for nearly 24 hours. DOC removes a person from the unit when they have a negative scan indicating the absence of contraband. From July 15 through November 30, the Department made 45 placements in Separation Status and the average length of stay in the unit was 30 hours. This report reviews the Department’s early implementation of body scanners and Separation Status (July 15 - November 30, 2019) and makes 22 recommendations to the Department and CHS on improvements to body scanner and Separation Status practice and policy.

The lessons learned from these findings should inform future DOC violence reduction efforts and the Boarfd’s expected restrictive housing rules. Violence in the New York City jails is an ongoing and urgent issue and it is critical that the Department explore new tools and initiatives to support safe jails, especially as the Department begins to plan new jail facilities. Body scanners can be an effective violence prevention tool for use alongside the Department’s other violence prevention initiatives, such as increased programming, PACE expansion, additional staff training, further reforms to restrictive housing, and a continued city-wide commitment to reducing the jail population. The Board urges the Department to move quickly to implement the recommendations in this report, and to use this technology in the safest, fairest, and most effective possible way.

Download the Body Scanners and Separation Status Report (January 2020)

Jail Conditions and Operations during July 2019 Heat Emergency

On July 18, 2019, Mayor de Blasio declared a heat emergency commencing Friday, July 19 at 9 AM through Sunday, July 21 at 11:59 PM. To monitor conditions and operations in the jails during this period, the Board of Correction conducted unannounced tours of three jails on July 20 and July 211. This September 2019 report is the Board's final report and recommendations. On July 22, the Board additionally released a public statement of its findings and preliminary recommendations.

Based on its first-hand observations and document/information review, the Board makes recommendations in four key areas: (i) daily temperature monitoring; (ii) heat-sensitive people in custody; (iii) restrictive housing areas such as Punitive Segregation and Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH)3; and (iv) short- and long-term action to mitigate heat risks.

Download the Final Report and Recommendations (September 2019)
DOC Response to BOC Recommendations (September 2019)

Access to Health and Mental Health Care (January - December 2018)

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 calendar year 2018. 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.

Download the Access to Health and Mental Health Care Report (January - December 2018) (June 2019)

Lockdowns Report

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. Last year, the Board published its first review of lockdowns, findings that despite a 32% decrease in the DOC average daily population since 2008, there has been an 88% increase in lockdowns through November 2017. In this new report, the Board found that for the first time since 2014, the number of lockdowns in DOC facilities decreased. From 2017 to 2018, there was a 9% decrease in the DOC average daily population, and an 18% decrease in the number of lockdown incidents.

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 2019 Annual Lockdowns Report (May 2019)

Download the Lockdowns Report (January 2018)
Additional Lockdown Findings (January 2018)
Audit of DOC Facility Report of Area Lock-In Forms (April 2018)
Consecutive Lockdowns & Duration of Lockdowns (April 2018)

PREA Reporting Dashboard

On a quarterly basis, the Board releases updated dashboards documenting the reports and submissions from the Department of Correction and H+H Correctional Health Services, as required by Chapter 5 of the Board’s Minimum Standards.

Visit our jail regulations page for more information on the Implementation of Sexual Abuse and Harassment Standards.

PREA Allegations, Disposition, and Time to Case Closure Report

As required by Chapter 5 of the Board’s Minimum Standards, DOC provides BOC with data on each alleged incident of sexual abuse. Findings presented in the report are based on allegation-level data on all sexual abuse and sexual harassment allegations from people in custody in calendar years 2017 and 2018. This report presents these data in aggregate and are critical to understanding trends in violence, evaluating impact of interventions, and monitoring compliance with the Minimum Standards.

Download BOC's Report on Allegations, Disposition, Time to Case Closure (Minimum Standard 5-40)

PREA Supervision and Monitoring, Unannounced Rounds Audit

In an effort to identify and deter staff sexual abuse and sexual harassment, the Department is required to implement a policy and practice of having intermediate-level or high-level supervisors conduct and document unannounced rounds of facilities. The Standards further require that the Department conducts rounds during night shifts as well as day shifts and at unpredictable and varied times. Between February and March 2019, the Board analyzed video footage and logbook entries to determine whether rounds were occurring as documented and to observe the activities occurring during these rounds. This report summarizes the Board’s findings, highlighting critical areas for improvements in procedures and recordkeeping.

Download BOC's Supervision and Monitoring, Unannounced Rounds Audit (Minimum Standard 5-04(k))

Observations Regarding Person in Custody Education

In March 2019, Board staff toured 194 jail areas across eleven facilities and one hospital ward, monitoring the availability and visibility of materials accessible to people in custody describing DOC’s zero tolerance policy on sexual assault and harassment and ways to report with the Department, as well as other City agencies.

Download BOC's Observations Regarding Person in Custody Education (Minimum Standard 5-14)

Serious Injury Reports in NYC Jails

When serious injuries occur in NYC jails, their consequences are severe and wide-ranging. Serious injuries affect the short- and long-term physical and mental health of individuals and have a compounding negative effect on individuals' employment, education, housing, and general reintegration into the community. These incidents also place a signifcant burden on security and safety staff.

In January 2019, the Board of Correction reviewed the aggregate data on serious injuries to people in custody over time and summarized our in-depth audit of three months of serious injury reports. The report documents large discrepancies between the number of serious injuries diagnosed by NYC Health + Hospitals' Correctional Health Services (CHS) and the number of serious injuries reported internally and publicly by the Department of Correction (DOC).  In 2017, DOC reported 81% fewer serious injuries than CHS (158 v. 816). This report is also the first public accounting of serious injuries over time and presents the number, type, cause, and facility of serious injuries for audited months.

Download Serious Injury Reports in NYC Jails (January 2019)

Download the Department of Correction’s Response to BOC Serious Injury Report

Audit Report on DOC’s Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (PREA) Closing Reports 

In 2018, the Board of Correction conducted an audit of the Department's investigation of sexual abuse or harassment allegations made by people in custody in New York City's jails. The audit uncovered significant weaknesses in the Department's process for reviewing sexual allegations of abuse and sexual harassment and offered recommendations for the Department to adopt in order to improve the quality and timeliness of investigations. 

Download the Audit Report on the New York City Department of Correction's Sexual Assault and Sexual Harrassment (PREA) Closing Reports (September 2018)

Satellite Intake: The First 500 Placements

In Spring 2016, NYC Board of Correction staff repeatedly discovered people in custody being held in cells in housing units classified as "closed" by the NYC Department of Correction. These documented reports from multiple jails concerned the Board due to these people being effectively hidden from health staff and oversight; violations of Minimum Standards on showers, toilets, sinks, telephones, mattresses, pillows, visits, recreation, law library, and linen exchange; and poor conditions including trash and water on the floor.

In response to Board reports, the Department of Correction vowed to end its use of closed housing areas and developed new policies on temporary housing assignments now called "Satellite Intakes." The new DOC policy includes requirements on documentation, notification, and limits on length of time a person can be held in a Satellite Intake. This report analyzes the first 500 placements in Satellite Intake.

Download Satelite Intake: The First 500 Placements

Studies of DOC's Inmate Grievance and Request Program

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.

Download Second Assessment of the New York City Department of Correction Inmate Grievance System (June 2018) 

Download A Study of the Department of Correction Inmate Grievance and Request Program (October 2016) 

An Assessment of the Transgender Housing Unit

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.

Download the Assessment of the Transgender Housing Unit
Department of Correction Comments re Assessment of the Transgender Housing Unit

Splashing Report

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.

Download the Splashing Report

Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH) Assessment and ESH for Young Adults Assessment

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.

Download the Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH) Assessment and ESH for Young Adults Assessment


Adolescent and Young Adults in NYC Jails: Key Performance Indicators

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.

Download Adolescent and Young Adults in NYC Jails: Key Performance Indicators

Punitive Segregation Reforms and Exceptions: Recent Results

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 approved by the Chief of Department.

Download Punitive Segregation Reforms and Exceptions: Recent Results

Visit Reports

Restriction Monthly Review

This monthly report analyzes DOC visit restrictions and BOC visit appeals.

Download Visit Restriction Monthly Reviews

Visit Directive and Practice Analysis 

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.


Other Reports:

2015

  • Follow-up report on Enhanced Supervision Housing as of April 30, 2015 This is the second report on Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH). It provides updated demographic information on the ESH inmates, unit operations, and unusual incidents. It then analyzes ESH's mission and some ongoing challenges.
  • Report on the status of punitive segregation reform This report serves as an update on the Department of Correction's (DOC) implementation of the amendments to punitive segregation (PS). It includes a description of the three types of punitive segregation units and information on punitive segregation admissions and transfers. Finally, it presents a discussion of problems with punitive segregation and concluding remarks.
  • Violence in New York City Jails: Slashing and Stabbing Incidents An analysis of the Department of Correction's data on stabbing and slashing incidents and weapons. The report notes that the vast majority of all weapons recovered by DOC staff are jail-made weapons fashioned from materials found inside the jails.
  • Preliminary Report on the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit This report serves as a first-look at the Department of Correction's (DOC) implementation of Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH). We summarize the background of ESH and provide a timeline. We then present details on the inmates currently housed in ESH, as well as how the new unit has been operating.
  • Violence Indicators Report Report of violence indicators, March 17, 2015.
  • Comparison of Historical Rates of Violence This report compares of historical rates of violence between inmates and rates of staff use of force on inmates.

2014

2013

  • Three Adolescents with Mental Illness in Punitive Segregation at Rikers Island This report describes the life and jail experience of three mentally ill adolescents who were each sentenced to more than 200 days in punitive segregation at Rikers Island. Mentally ill adolescents in punitive segregation merit special attention because they are among the most vulnerable prisoners in custody.