State Commission of Correction

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

State Commission of Correction
Facility Oversight and Timeliness of Response to Complaints and Inmate Grievances


Issued: January 19, 2018
Link to full audit report 2017-S-2

Purpose
To determine if the State Commission of Correction (Commission) is fulfilling its responsibilities for the oversight of correctional facilities and for responding timely to complaints and inmate grievances. Our audit scope covers the period January 1, 2014 through July 19, 2017.

Background
The Commission is responsible for oversight of all 561 correctional facilities throughout the State including 54 State correctional facilities, four Office of Children and Family Services facilities, 74 local correctional facilities (county jails and New York City facilities), and 429 local lockups. The Commission is charged with both the periodic inspection of all correctional facilities throughout the State and the timely response to complaints and inmate grievances. The Commission receives more than 4,000 complaints and inmate grievances annually. The Commission employs three commissioners and 28 staff to support its oversight activities, including 14 dedicated to the inspection and review of facilities.

Key Findings

  • The Commission receives data, such as complaints and unusual incidents, regarding various aspects of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) facility operations, but does not analyze and track the information. As a result, the Commission may not identify patterns or trends, such as a significant increase in complaints at a specific facility or system-wide, in a timely manner.
  • The Commission could improve the timeliness of its responses to complaints and inmate grievances by better monitoring the status of complaints and inmate grievances and by capturing and analyzing the resolution of complaints and inmate grievances.

Key Recommendations

  • Implement a system to retain and analyze information for DOCCS correctional facilities, such as incidents, complaints, and other issues, to identify patterns or trends that may warrant monitoring or targeted reviews.
  • Using the analysis of complaint and inmate grievance data, identify ways to further improve the timeliness of responses.

Other Related Audit/Report of Interest

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision: Inmate Sentence Calculation and Release Practices (2016-S-43)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Stephen Goss
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236