NYC DOC Commissioner resigns as union slams leadership as ‘darkest chapter’ for agency

NYC DOC Commissioner
NYC Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann Photo credit NYC Department of Correction

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York City's Department of Correction on Tuesday announced Commissioner Cynthia Brann would be stepping down after a 40-year career in public service.

The commissioner will leave her role on May 31, according to a press release.

Brann has served aa the commissioner since October 2017 and was deputy commissioner for four years prior to that.

“During my time as Commissioner, I have seen the men and women of this department rise to extraordinary challenges time and again,” Brann said in a statement. “They are more committed to keeping our jails safe than the world will ever know, and my heartfelt thanks go out to Mayor [Bill] de Blasio for giving me the opportunity to work with them.”

The department notes that Commissioner Brann has enacted “groundbreaking” reforms to “create a more humane environment for people in custody since her appointment in 2017.”

Under Brann’s leadership, the department has moved all adolescents off Rikers Island, improved training and accountability measures for staff, launched an online bail system and introduced the plan to permanently close Rikers Island and end solitary confinement.

“I leave the Department with absolute confidence that, as we emerge from the pandemic, the fundamental changes we have put in place will ensure that we are well on our way to becoming a humane model for other jails to follow,” Brann said.

While Brann and the department looked back at her time as commissioner fondly, the city’s Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association had some scathing words about her term.

“Under her watch, Cynthia Brann presided over one of the darkest chapters in the history of our agency, marred by record levels of jail violence, including thousands of assaults on COs, the botched [management] of COVID-19 in the jails, & COs forced to work triple shifts,” the COBA said in a tweet.

In a statement to WCBS 880’s sister station, 1010 WINS, COBA President Benny Boscio said Brann was responsible for driving “1,000 officers to resign over the last two years – a bleak reflection of the lowest levels of morale among our members in recent memory.

“COBA has long called for accountability at the top, beginning with her ouster, and hopefully, with her departure, we can turn the page and finally put the safety of everyone in our jails first,” Boscio added.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: NYC Department of Correction