New York City Department of Correction

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New York City Department of Correction
Abbreviation DOC or NYCD
Patch of the New York City Department of Correction
Shield of the New York City Department of Correction.
Motto New York's Boldest
Agency overview
Formed 1895
Employees 14,000
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of New York in the state of New York, USA
Map of New York Highlighting New York City.svg
Map of New York City Department of Correction's jurisdiction.
Legal jurisdiction New York state
Constituting instrument New York City Charter
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Jackson Heights, Queens
Correction Officers 9,500
Commissioner responsible Joseph Ponte
Agency executive Martin Murphy, Chief of Department
Official Site
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The New York City Department of Correction (DOC or NYCD) is the branch of the municipal government of New York City[1] responsible for the custody, control, and care of New York City's imprisoned population, housing the majority of them on Rikers Island.[2] It employs 8,000 uniformed officers and 1,400 civilian staff, has 543 vehicles,[3] and processes over 100,000 new inmates every year,[4] retaining a population of inmates of between 13,000 and 18,000.[3] Its nickname is New York's Boldest.[4] Its regulations are compiled in title 39 of the New York City Rules. Previously located in Manhattan, the Department of Correction headquarters has now moved to the Bulova building in the northern section of Jackson Heights, Queens, minutes from Rikers Island. The agency is headed by the Correction Commissioner, who is chosen and appointed by the Mayor of New York City.


The New York City Department of Correction was first founded as a separate entity in New York City in 1895 after a split from the Department of Public Charities and Correction.[2] Roosevelt Island, then called Blackwell's Island, was the main penal institution under the jurisdiction of the DOC until the 1930s when it was closed. The penal institutions moved to Rikers Island, which the city purchased for $180,000, where 10 prisons and 12,000 inmates are now held.[2]

In 1995, the New York City jail system was one of the most violent in the United States, averaging more than 100 stabbings and slashings per month. Between January 1995 and January 2002, the department achieved a 93% reduction in inmate on inmate violence as a result of a management system recognized by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, called Total Efficiency Accountability Management System (TEAMS).[5] By 2007, the number of stabbings was reduced to 19, making that year the Department of Correction's safest on record. Although the issue of under reporting of incidents has not been ever addressed.[4]

In 2009, former commissioner of both the Missouri and Arizona prison systems Dora Schriro was selected to head the department, with some citing a need in the department for a boost in morale.[6] Schriro was named in several federal court cases such as Schriro v. Smith and Schriro v. Summerlin. Schriro served with the United States Department of Homeland Security prior to coming to the Department.

Power and Authority of Correction Officers

Correction Officers are New York State peace officers, and hold such status on and off duty, but only when acting under color of law.[7]:5–27

Command Structure

There are nine uniformed titles (referred to as ranks) in the New York City Department of Correction.

From highest to lowest, the uniformed ranks are:

Title Insignia
Chief of Department
4 Gold Stars.svg
Bureau Chief
3 Gold Stars.svg
Assistant Chief
2 Gold Stars.svg
1 Gold Star.svg
Deputy Warden in Command
Colonel Gold.png
Deputy Warden
Colonel Gold.png
Assistant Deputy Warden
US-O4 insignia.svg
Correction Captain
Captain insignia gold.svg
Correction Officer

There are certain civilian leadership positions in the agency which have power equivalent to the high ranking uniformed personnel. If they outrank a present uniformed officer, they are saluted due to agency customs and courtesies.

From highest to lowest, the civilian leadership ranks are:

Title Insignia
Correction Commissioner
5 Gold Stars.svg
First Deputy Commissioner
4 Gold Stars.svg
Deputy Commissioner
3 Gold Stars.svg
Associate Commissioner
2 Gold Stars.svg
Assistant Commissioner
1 Gold Star.svg

The Correction Commissioner is the highest ranking official in the agency and is in command of all uniformed and civilian personnel.

Tour of duty

In the New York City Department of Correction, one day is divided into three 8-hour and 31-minute shifts: 11:00 PM to 7:31 AM (called a 2300hrs to 0731hrs), 7:00 AM to 3:31 PM (called an 0700hrs to 1531hrs), and 3:00 PM to 11:31 PM (called a 1500hrs to 2331hrs). Officers work 4 of these shifts per week based upon a rotating squad chart (i.e. 4 working days, 2 days off then another 4 working days and 2 days off). There is also a 5 and 2 squad (5 days on; 2 days off) for specialized units (i.e. Investigation Division, Intelligence Unit, Academy and Firearms Training Units, etc.)

Equipment and vehicles

Although correction officers are trained to carry firearms, only correction officers at certain post assignments carry a firearm due to the potential threat of prisoners overpowering an officer and seizing their firearm. No one may carry a firearm into a prison without the permission of the Warden or the commanding officer. Officers assigned to prisoner transport units, outside hospital posts, exterior patrol posts, and security posts carry firearms at all times. Not all correction officers carry a firearm on or off-duty, for off-duty carry correction officer must get approval from their respective Warden or commanding officer. On duty firearm is provided (Smith & Wesson 5946 DAO) however should the member elect there is a list of authorized on/off duty firearms such as Glock, SIG Sauer, Beretta, etc. For officers hired before March 1994, the model 10 & 64 revolvers are still an option. If authorized to carry firearms off duty, officers' options include the on duty firearms and, but not limited to, the Glock 26 and the Beretta 92D.[8]

The department uses numerous vehicles including Chevrolet Impalas, Ford vans, transport buses, firetrucks, and riot vehicles.[9][10]

Notable people of NYC DOC

Over the years, several notable people have come through the ranks of DOC:

  • Bernard Kerik, Served in the NYCDOC from 1994-2001 Mr. Kerik became Correction Commissioner in 1998 and served in that position until appointed the 40th Police commissioner of the NYPD in August 2001.
  • Soul singer Sharon Jones served as a corrections officer at Rikers Island.[11]

See also


  1. New York City Charter § 621; "There shall be a department of correction the head of which shall be the commissioner of correction."
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 History of the DOC New York City Department of Correction, retrieved March 13, 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 Facilities Overview New York City Department of Correction, retrieved March 13, 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Press Release - January 6, 2008 New York City Department of Corrections, available here retrieved March 13, 2008
  6. City Jails Get a New Commissioner [1] The Village Voice
  7. Schwartz, Martin A. (1997). Section 1983 Litigation: Claims and Defenses. Aspen.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Firearms Directive
  9. NYC Corrections Chevy Impala
  10. NYC Corrections Vehicles
  11. [2]

External links