Criminal Justice


New York’s progressive chief judge joins with conservatives to expand DNA searches by law enforcement

In a 4-3 decision, Chief Judge Rowan Wilson ruled that the Commission on Forensic Science has the authority to allow law enforcement to search DNA databases to find partial DNA matches from relatives of potential suspects.


DOC critic Jacqueline Sherman tapped for reappointment to Board of Correction

The mayor's office had hoped to replace Sherman when her term expired, but a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign succeeded in keeping her on the board of the jails watchdog.


Council Member Inna Vernikov brought a gun to a protest. Did she break the law?

Openly carrying a pistol to a college protest could fall afoul of New York state’s strict gun laws.

Rikers Island

Federal monitor concludes DOC is incapable of running Rikers well

The monitor’s latest report finds that stabbings are up, deaths in custody are continuing and nothing will change so long as DOC is in charge.


DOC stopped providing tampons to detainees – despite 2016 law mandating it

The Department of Correction has a problem with menstruation, amid fears that tampons will be used to smoke drugs and menstrual cups will be used for “splashings.”


Major felony crimes up in New York City schools

School safety has been a major focus after a string of high-profile incidents occurred outside school buildings last year.


Judge rejects state prison system’s attempt to dismiss lawsuit over solitary confinement

The class action lawsuit was filed by a group of people incarcerated in state prisons, including one man who was sent to solitary confinement for 120 days after throwing sugar packets and urinating on the floor.

News & Politics

Top DOC lawyer Paul Shechtman resigns

Shechtman’s decision to quietly step down last week suggests DOC Commissioner Louis Molina’s legal arguments may not even pass the smell test with his own lawyers.

News & Politics

Divisions within oversight agency may imperil lawsuit against DOC

The mayor’s new appointees could shift the balance of power on the Board of Correction, leading the watchdog agency to abandon its lawsuit against DOC.


Dying man’s cries for help at Rikers Island went unheeded, fellow detainees say

Two people in the same unit recalled how jail guards failed to respond to Donny Ubiera’s fight for his life.

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Heard Around Town

NYPD doesn’t need to be more detailed in tech transparency, official says

“I'm more concerned about public safety and keeping people safe and being true to the spirit of the law,” Ruben Beltran said, when asked about criticisms of POST Act compliance.


After PR stunts, damning reports and a new lawsuit, judge sets stage for potential federal takeover of Rikers next year

Federal judge Laura Taylor Swain is losing patience with the city Department of Correction, which has now come under fire from the court-appointed federal monitor, Legal Aid Society, federal prosecutors, city comptroller and Board of Correction.


Opinion: Judicial independence or intimidation?

The same judicial organizations who condemned academics for publishing a paper about judges setting excessive bail were silent when a judge was reassigned for declining to set bail.


Opinion: Closing Rikers is the joke of the decade

There’s no way Rikers will be replaced by four borough-based jails by 2027. So let’s reform Rikers instead.


Opinion: Eric Adams has failed. It’s time for a federal receiver to take over at Rikers

Receivership is the only way to improve conditions and save lives at the troubled jail complex

Criminal Justice

What needs to change at Rikers? Everything.

We asked more than a dozen criminal justice experts. They urged staying the course on borough-based jails – and many called for a federal takeover of Rikers in the meantime.


More people have died in New York City jails than previously known

Since 2014, at least 120 people held in city jails have died while in custody or shortly after being released on medical grounds – but some of those deaths have gone unreported.