New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang is appointing an Attorney-in-Charge (AIC) for all matters relating to NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). The AIC will serve as the lead counsel coordinating all of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) DOCCS related investigations, audits, and compliance initiatives across New York State.
As of February 1, 2022, DOCCS was comprised of over 17,000 state employees who administer the confinement and rehabilitation of 30,477 incarcerated New Yorkers and 31,221 parolees across 52 correctional facilities statewide. In 2021, the Office of the Inspector General received 2,524 complaints within its jurisdiction, of which 1,447 (57.3%) were related to DOCCS. Such complaints came from incarcerated New Yorkers, their families, advocates, and DOCCS personnel.
“More than half of complaints to the Office of the Inspector General are related to DOCCS, and it’s clear that an immediate and sustained response is needed,” said Inspector General Lucy Lang. “My commitment to improving our state’s corrections system is unwavering. Effective immediately, I am appointing a senior investigative counsel to serve as attorney-in-charge of overseeing our many DOCCS matters. This will equip us to proactively identify and address gaps and trends that can affect some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, those in the prison system.”
“This announcement is a result of our two agencies' shared desire to enhance our working relationship to better serve all New Yorkers. By working together, we will ensure thorough investigations and increased accountability to the public.”
Today’s announcement continues the Inspector General’s ongoing commitment to providing strong leadership and oversight to the state corrections system. The OIG's extensive activities across DOCCS include investigations of abuse complaints against incarcerated people and DOCCS personnel, corruption allegations, and audits to assist DOCCS in improving its services and operations. The appointment by the Inspector General is expected to reinforce this historic working relationship, which has included regular information sharing, discussion of emerging issues and trends, and the promotion of best practices within the corrections system.
In one recent investigation of DOCCS, a team from the Inspector General's office exposed the administration of flawed drug testing protocols that resulted in hundreds of incarcerated New Yorkers receiving positive drug test results and being falsely accused of drug use, which led to unjustified punishments including the extension of their release dates and solitary confinement.