A federal judge lifted a contempt order against the Department of Correction on Tuesday, citing a small turnaround within the department, specifically with its relationship with the federal monitor appointed to oversee it.  

That judge had found the city in contempt late last year for failing to be transparent with that monitor.

In a letter this week, the monitoring team said they “observed an immediate change in the department’s approach and dynamic in early Dec. 2023 with the appointment of Commissioner Maginley-Liddie.”

What You Need To Know

  • On Tuesday a federal judge purged a contempt order that required the department to better coordinate with its federal monitor

  • It was rare good news for the department which has been under fire for years

  • Meanwhile, another oversight body called out the department for failing to provide recreation to detainees

While they are still raising concerns about violence in the jails, they have seen “a marked and positive shift in the department’s approach to working with the Monitoring Team.”

This comes after the departure of the previous commissioner, Louis Molina.

Now, the department has urged its rank and file in an internal video to work with its oversight officials.

“As I committed to the court that we are working to ensuring there is a safe and humane jail system for people who work and live in our facilities. We will continue to make improvements as we have been doing since I became commissioner, and that is what that court order indicates,” Lynelle Maginley-Liddie, the commissioner of the Department of Correction, said.

Even so, the department has a long way to go.

“People in custody have reported not receiving the mandated one hour of daily recreation with some experiencing extended periods without access to recreation at all,” Board of Correction Executive Director Jasmine Georges-Yilla said at its meeting Wednesday. “At EMTC there are people who have not had outdoor recreation for one year.”

Board of Correction officials on Wednesday simultaneously called out the department for not providing the required hour of recreation for detainees.

The commissioner said they recognize there is more work to be done.

“We are working internally to address these issues,” the commissioner told NY1. “We’re also implementing an audit process to make sure there is accountability for our staff and for us as an agency.”