ALBANY — The state agency charged with overseeing New York’s vast network of prisons does a poor job watching over the ones run by the state, a new audit Friday revealed.
State Controller Thomas DiNapoli’s audit found that the Commission of Correction “does not routinely inspect” any of the 54 prisons and correctional facilities operated by the state.
Instead, the commission — which is comprised of three commissioners and a staff of 28 — mostly focuses on the 429 local lockups across the state.
“The State Commission of Correction is not adequately monitoring what’s happening in our prisons,” DiNapoli said.
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The commission does receive incident reports and other data from state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision but it does not analyze the information and is unable to spot problems, DiNapoli said.
DiNapoli also warned that a new information system currently being installed by the commission would still fall short of providing the detailed analysis that is needed.
“The commission needs to improve its tracking of data and to identify patterns or trends that merit attention to protect the rights and safety of inmates and correctional staff,” DiNapoli said.
The commission, according to DiNapoli’s audit, does a better job overseeing the 429 local lockups across the state.
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“We found that the Commission generally met its inspection cycle and ensured corrective action was taken to remedy issues of non-compliance,” the report stated.
A commission spokesman, in a statement, disputed DiNapoli’s report, arguing that it is not responsible for routine inspection of state facilities.
The spokesman also said the commission is “developing a system to more effectively monitor data generated through complaints and grievances” so as to better spot problems.
“The commission will continue to explore new ways that will help to improve conditions at all correctional facilities and ensure they operate effectively and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations,” the spokesman said.
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