NY Times Runs PRP Letter “Take Back the Prisons”
MONDAY, MAY 09, 2016

The New York Times ran a Letter to the Editor by Dori Lewis, Supervising Attorney in the Prisoners’ Rights Project, and Caroline Hsu, a Staff Attorney in PRP.

They urged the State of New York to take back control of the prisoners by providing the Department of Corrections with the power to dismiss and remove staff whenever they have cause to believe the employee engaged in serious misconduct.

The New York Times
The Opinion Pages
Take Back the Prisons
MAY 5, 2016

To the Editor:

“How to Get Brutal Guards Out of the Jails ” (editorial, May 2) makes several suggestions, but they won’t cure the culture of impunity and violence in our prisons.

Improving a small percentage of investigative staff, while commendable, won’t change the bias inherent in having the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision investigate itself.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal giving the prison agency the power to terminate staff members convicted of crimes is tinkering at the edges. Staff members are rarely referred for prosecution and even less likely to be convicted.

Staff discipline shouldn’t remain in the hands of arbitrators. Rather, the department needs the power to dismiss and remove staff members from their posts whenever they have cause to believe that the employee has engaged in serious misconduct, and then to exercise that power.

The union contract is being renegotiated. It’s time for New York State to take back control of its prisons.

New York