NYC Comptroller Releases New Monthly Data on Department of Correction Operations
Updated dashboard, presented today to the Board of Correction, now shows 18% of people in custody have serious mental illness
The New York City Comptroller’s Office released a monthly update to the Department of Correction (DOC) Dashboard, available here. The dashboard monitors pervasive issues in the City’s jails, including staff absenteeism, missed court and medical appointments, and incidents of violence among detained people and staff. It also tracks the jail population on Rikers Island, which rose slightly in August and, at 5,712, remains well above the capacity of the borough-based jails intended to replace the notorious complex.
The August data shows small changes since July, with little overall improvement in the key metrics tracked by the dashboard:
- Jail population is 5,712 as of September 1, 2022 (up 4 people from last month and up 312 people [6%] since the start of January)
- 12% of staff out sick/day as of August (no change from July)
- 8% of staff identified as medically restricted/day as of August (down from 9% in July)
- 68 assaults on staff in August (up 3 from July)
- 38 slashings and stabbings in August (down 5 from July)
The share of uniformed staff out on sick leave remains abnormally high, at 12% of the Department’s employees with little improvement from the month prior. While the total number of slashings and stabbings is down slightly from July, 2022 is poised to be see even more violence than last year. The year-to-date total of slashings and stabbings is now at 336, up 34% from the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, the length of stays for people in custody — the vast majority of whom are detained pre-trial — continues to grow and currently averages 114 days, up from 105 last month.
In addition to this month’s data update to the dashboard, the Comptroller’s office added new data on the number and share of people in custody experiencing serious mental illness, which includes schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, bipolar and related disorders, depressive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As of July, there were on average 1,003 people in custody per day with serious mental illness, 18% of the total jail population.
“Our City’s jails have become de facto mental health care facilities, which have utterly failed to help people in crisis,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “We cannot look away from the disaster that is our correction system: the Rikers population is still too high while management struggles to keep both incarcerated people and correction officers safe. Already this year, thirteen people have died in DOC custody. In the early days of the pandemic, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys came together to meaningfully and safely reduce the jail population, and it is long past time for the City, State, and courts to take these steps again.”
In August 2022, Comptroller Brad Lander produced an oversight and accountability dashboard to provide detailed, timely metrics for the press and public to assess progress on addressing ongoing management issues at DOC, including staff absenteeism, rates of violence, and the rising incarcerated population that perpetuates the chaos of the City’s jail system. The data will be updated regularly to track changes over time.
Comptroller Lander discussed this data and the crisis in NYC’s jails in testimony to the Board of Correction today. The testimony as prepared is available here.
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