New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Correction Testimony
Board of Parole Chairwoman Tina Stanford and Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci presented their testimony to the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Correction on the subject of procedures and statutory requirements of the New York State Board of Parole.
Taylor V. Vogt
On a wet and chilly Halloween night in downtown Albany, I found myself in a bullet proof vest and riding in the back of a parole vehicle, with two local Parole Officers, to conduct home visits for registered sex offenders under their supervision. Two Albany SVU detectives followed behind. We did not blend in. My name is Taylor and I have been in the DOCCS Public Information Office for a couple of months and felt observing this annual initiative was vital to my understanding of our Department.
This is the 8th year that Operation Halloween has taken place, but understand home visits on Halloween would still take place even without the official title. As the streets were beginning to fill up with children dressed in costumes ranging from superheroes to zombies, we were starting our patrol.
During our first two stops both parolees were home, compliant and understanding of the restrictions. A Parole Officer noted, in the seven years he has worked for DOCCS, he has only had one sex offender return for a new sex crime.
Some of the residences we stopped at had signs on their door making it clear that there is no candy and Halloween is not celebrated there. Curious as to how the parolees felt about the restrictions and the home visits, one responded by explaining that it was unfair and embarrassing. He conceded that he understood why we do it and that the restrictions are the consequences for his actions.
Halfway through the evening, after visiting a parolee who has a wife and a young son, I saw some emotion from both the parolee and the law enforcement in the room. The parolee was upset and stressed that he could not go trick or treating with his own son. One Parole Officer responded by pointing out that since he had been on the job he hasn’t been trick or treating with his own son. This evening the Parole Officers will be working till midnight or later.
Law enforcement, Correction Officers and Parole Officers make sacrifices every day to be out on the streets and in our facilities protecting the community. Parole Officers are doing more than protecting us, they are establishing relationships with their assigned parolees, they are checking in because they want to see them succeed and stay out of prison. Parole Officers wear many hats and are extremely dedicated.
This was evident at our last visit of the night. Unfortunately, the last parolee was taken into custody on a drug violation. The minute the Parole Officer opened the door, you could see his look of disappointment and frustration. It was clear that he was saddened because, not only did the parolee fail at complying with his conditions, but he also had to send the individual to county jail where he would await a violation hearing.
At the end of the night I had a deeper appreciation for all law enforcement agencies and the work they do each and every day. The sacrifices they make to protect our communities. Their commitment impacts all of us.
Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later
One year ago, Sgt. Correa, a Correction Officer at Sing Sing, and his family lost everything when Superstorm Sandy tore through New York. Today, the Correa family lives in a new home just a mile from their old residence on Staten Island, and the Sgt. will quickly tell you that his family got through this most difficult of times because of the generosity of others and, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo, we will be okay.” Following the storm, family, friends, co-workers and fellow NYSCOPBA members worked together to raise money to assist Sgt. Correa and his family with the long rebuilding process. The Correa family also took advantage of the Governor’s buy out program, selling their home to NY State.
On the first anniversary of Sandy the Sgt. took time to visit an older couple, whom he assisted as the storm destroyed their neighborhood. One year later, with memories of homes torn apart still haunting those who endured Sandy, there is a bond between friends and neighbors that was in fact strengthened by the storm. The New York Times produced a documentary titled "Coming Back: A Year of Recovery after Hurricane Sandy" which features Sgt. Correa and the aftermath he and many other New Yorkers faced.
New York Times Editorial: Why Prisons are Shrinking
NY DOCCS operates a successful Parole Diversion Program (PDP) for males at three sites, Hudson, Orleans, and Edgecombe. Rather than violating a parolee and returning him to a traditional prison setting to finish a period of incarceration, the PDP is designed to quickly correct parolee behaviors before it escalates to the point of re-incarceration. Not only does this provide an opportunity to get back on a successful path, it’s also a form of mandate relief for the counties due to an expedited county jail removal process of two to three days.
Livingston C.F. raises money during Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The staff at Livingston Correctional Facility held a bake to celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness month. The bake sale generated a profit of $215.00 and was donated to a local domestic violence shelter. DOCCS encourages all to shine the light on domestic violence throughout the whole month of October.
Caption (l to R): Vocational Instructor of Horticulture Carisa Harding, Recreation Program Leader II and Special Events Coordinator Lisa Clinton, Superintendent of Livingston C.F Michele Artus, Deputy Superintendent for Administration John McAnany, Deputy Superintendent for Programs Valerie Sullivan and Education Supervisor Amy Titus.
During the month of October please join the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision by "shining the light" on domestic violence. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo encourages all New Yorkers to take part in this important initiative all throughout Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Learn more at OPDV.
2013 National Hispanic Heritage Celebration at DOCCS
National Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated at DOCCS with a brief presentation on October 1st. The event began with a reading of the proclamation issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci then delivered an insightful talk on the history and accomplishments of past and present Hispanic leaders, specifically Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The honored guest speaker, Deputy Superintendent of Program Services at Great Meadow Phil Melecio, used his own family history in describing the powerful family values, leadership skills and commitment he has observed and benefitted from in the Hispanic and Latino community.
Motorcycle Ride raises $3,800 for Mercy Flight
A tip of the motorcycle helmet to the staff and volunteers from correctional facilities in the Wende Hub who organized a 160 mile long motorcycle ride to benefit Mercy Flight of Western NY. The ride took place on August 17th, starting at the Groveland/Livingston Quality of Life building, with stops at Attica, Albion and Orleans, ending back at Groveland for a BBQ, music, prizes, raffles and a bonfire. Mercy Flight flew in to the Groveland helipad area for the check presentation ceremony on September 20th.
(Front Row Left to Right: Jessica Parks KBS Groveland, Flight Crew, Flight Crew Nurse, Lil Kane Secretary II Groveland, Ken Poddany CO Groveland, Keith Young CO Groveland, Flight Crew, Lisa Clinton Recreation Leader Livingston, George Kumpf Asst. Ind. Supt. Attica, Linda Anderson Secretary II Livingston, Jeff Schillaci FSO Groveland, Brandon Poddany CO Groveland. Back Row: Diane Catalfu Asst. Commissioner and Bill Anderson Lieutenant Groveland).
Coxsackie and Greene Fund Raiser to Benefit Albany Medical Center Children
Staff from Coxsackie and Greene Correctional Facilities have planned an open to the public fund raiser on August 21st to benefit hospitalized children at Albany Medical Center. The event will be held outside the grounds of Coxsackie Correctional Facility (Greene County). For more information about the barbeque, activities, and country music, please click here.
DOCCS Announces Prison Closures
DOCCS announced plans to close four correctional facilities next year on July 26, 2014, following a substantial reduction in the state crime rate and drug offenses. This action will save over $30 million annually while the plan proposes preventing layoffs by providing transfer options to affected employees.
Parole Memorial Ceremony
Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci today, joined by Assistant Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Mary Kavaney, commemorated the 11th anniversary of the state’s Parole Memorial with a wreath-laying ceremony honoring parole officers who have died in the line of duty and to recognize the key role community supervision professionals play in keeping New York’s residents safe. Governor Cuomo issued a proclamation declaring July 21-27, 2013 as Pretrial, Probation, and Parole Supervision Week.
Statistics show parolees are committing fewer serious crimes
The Division of Parole's FY 2009-10 Annual Report summarizes the activities of the Division and its two main functions – deciding which offenders whom the Legislature has made eligible for parole have met the statutory criteria for discretionary release, and then monitoring and mentoring those who are released to community supervision.
During FY 2009-10, the Division of Parole made substantial progress in its mission to promote public safety and successfully transition releases back to the community – as evidenced by the fact that the percentage of releasees returned to prison for new felony convictions is at its lowest point since the early 1990s.