New York City Department of Correction

The New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC) 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 11,163 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.

New York City Department of Correction
Shield of the New York City Department of Correction
Flag of the New York City Department of Correction
MottoNew York's Boldest
Agency overview
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCity of New York, United States
Map of New York City Department of Correction's jurisdiction.
Legal jurisdictionNew York State
Constituting instrument
General nature
HeadquartersJackson Heights, Queens
Correction Officers11,163
Commissioner responsible
  • Cynthia Brann
Agency executive
  • Hazel Jennings, Chief of Department
Official Site

Previously located in Manhattan, the Department of Correction headquarters is now located in the Bulova building in the northern section of Jackson Heights, Queens, close to 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]

Historians have not described the prison system of New York in the 19th century in a favorable light - with employment positions being awarded based on the spoils system and employees being characterized as largely corrupt. The Blackwell's Island penitentiary is described as having lax security, where prisoners were able to escape if they knew how to swim.[5]

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).[6] 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 underreporting of incidents has not been 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.[7] 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.


Correction officers are responsible for the care, control, custody, work performance and job training of inmates. Duties include:

  • Inspecting facilities for safety and security, and safeguarding supplies and equipment.
  • Supervising meals, recreation, and visitors.
  • Maintaining logs.
  • Interacting with inmates, and recommending medical and/or psychiatric referrals.
  • Escorting and transporting inmates within and outside of the facility.[8]

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
Bureau Chief
Assistant Chief
Deputy Warden in Command
Deputy Warden
Assistant Deputy Warden
Correction Officer/Correction Officer Investigator

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
First Deputy Commissioner
Deputy Commissioner
Associate Commissioner
Assistant Commissioner

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

Equipment and vehicles

Correction officers are trained in the use of a firearm, but only certain post assignments require officers to be armed due to the potential threat of prisoners overpowering an officer. Officers assigned to prisoner transport units, outside hospital posts, exterior patrol posts, intelligence bureau, emergency service unit, investigation division, applicant investigation unit, security posts and other specialized units carry a firearm while on and off duty. On duty firearm is provided (Smith & Wesson 5946 DAO) however should the member elect there is a list of authorized firearms such as Glock, SIG Sauer, etc. For officers hired before March 1994, the model 10 & 64 revolvers are still an option. Correction officers are permitted to carry a firearm off duty with prior authorization from a chief or warden. Officers' options include their duty firearm and or Glock 26 of off duty use.[9]

The department uses numerous marked vehicles including Chevrolet Impalas, Ford vans, transport buses, firetrucks, and riot vehicles.[10][11]

Employee benefits

In 2018, the total salary for a correctional officer, including benefits, ranged from $46,261 to $99,073 (depending on years of service). Benefits include a uniform allowance, holiday pay, night shift compensation, longevity pay, paid sick days, paid vacation days, paid holidays, medical and dental compensation, and pension benefits. Officers also have an opportunity to work overtime.[12]

Notable employees

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. History of the DOC New York City Department of Correction, retrieved March 13, 2008
  3. Facilities Overview New York City Department of Correction, retrieved March 13, 2008
  4. Press Release - January 6, 2008 New York City Department of Correction, available here retrieved March 13, 2008
  5. Timothy J. Gilfoyle (2006). A Pickpocket's Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York. W. W. Norton Company. ISBN 978-0393329896.
  6. Drew, Christopher (November 8, 1999). "LOCKDOWN -- A special report.; An Iron Hand at Rikers Island Drastically Reduces Violence". Retrieved May 29, 2018 via
  8. "Correction Officer - Overview". New York City Department of Correction. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  9. Firearms Directive
  10. "All sizes - NYC Boldest - polluting the city! - Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  11. NYC Corrections Vehicles
  12. "Correction Officer - Salary & Benefits". New York City Department of Correction. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  13. "Dap Queen Sharon Jones". Retrieved May 29, 2018.
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