State Commission of Correction

Oversight of Correctional Facilities and Handling of Grievances and Complaints

The State Commission of Correction (SCOC) is an independent State agency that is responsible for overseeing all State and local correctional facilities in New York State. At the time of our audit, there were 73 State facilities (mainly State prisons) and 393 local facilities (county jails and local police lock-ups). SCOC has promulgated regulations governing the operation of correctional facilities and the treatment of inmates within the facilities, and relies on inspections to determine whether the facilities are complying with the regulations. We found SCOC was not fulfilling its responsibilities for overseeing State correctional facilities, as it stopped inspecting State prisons when its staffing levels were reduced during the 1990s. In addition, even though SCOC was supposed to begin overseeing the Stateís secure facilities for youths in 1996, it had not promulgated regulations governing their operations and did not begin inspecting the facilities until 2007. We also found that SCOC was not fully meeting its inspection goals for local correctional facilities, as some inspections were not performed on schedule and other inspections did not cover all the required areas of operation. SCOC is also responsible for reviewing inmate complaints that cannot be resolved by correctional facility officials (grievances) and for responding to written complaints made on behalf of inmates (complaints). We found certain improvements were needed in SCOCís handling of grievances and complaints. For example, grievances were not always resolved within the timeframe required by SCOC. We recommended that certain actions be taken by SCOC to strengthen its oversight of the correctional facilities in New York State.

For a complete copy of Report 2006-S-93 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.