Why New York City Needs a Blueprint to Rightsize the Department of Correction

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New York City already has a plan to close Rikers Island by 2027 and replace it with a smaller, more humane borough-based jail system. City leaders now have a unique opportunity to rightsize the Department of Correction: recalibrating its budget and reshaping its workforce to meet the needs of a significantly smaller jail system and unlocking millions of dollars in savings that could be reinvested in communities. As the transition to a borough-based jail system draws nearer, DOC needs a blueprint to rightsize and reinvent itself rather than simply export the current dysfunction on Rikers Island to new locations. Ultimately, New York City’s leaders must create this blueprint now to provide DOC and other relevant agencies with adequate time and guidance to phase in new policies and practices before the completion of the borough-based jail system.

Key Takeaway

City leaders need a blueprint to rightsize DOC, which must include reducing headcount in a just and equitable way. That means retaining the necessary workforce to keep jails safe while transitioning extraneous staff to other opportunities. It also means creating more well-paid employment opportunities for New Yorkers without postsecondary degrees.

Key Facts