Organization and History

The 1894 State constitution and subsequent enabling legislation provided for a State Commission of Prisons, consisting of eight gubernatorial appointees. The commission was empowered to visit and inspect all penal institutions and to promote humane and efficient administration of these institutions.

In 1901, the commission membership was reduced to three appointees and the commissioners were assigned to serve also as a Board of Commissioners for Paroled Prisoners.

The board was abolished in 1908 and was replaced by a Board of Parole for State Prisons that was independent of the Commission of Prisons. The membership of the Commission of Prisons was increased to seven gubernatorial appointees.

As part of the constitutional reorganization of State government in 1925-26, the Department of Correction was created and the name of the Commission of Prisons was changed to the Commission of Correction . The commissioner of the new department became the chairperson of the commission. The Commission of Correction was placed administratively within the Department of Correction but retained independent powers of visitation and inspection.

In 1973 , the commission was established as an independent agency within the Executive Department, under Article 3, NYS Correction Law. The commission functioned with part-time members until 1975 (Chapter 865), when the present commission with three full-time members and staff was established.

The Commission strives to provide a safe, stable and humane correctional system and ensure the delivery of essential services in the correctional setting. The Commission, besides working towards its mission statement (see our Mission Statement), also oversees new jail facility development (see NITAP), and assists in the implementation of new correctional technologies.

The three members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor to statutory terms with the advice and consent of the New York Senate. One Commissioner serves as Chair and chief executive officer, while the two others serve as respective Chairs of the Medical Review Board (MRB) and the Citizen's Policy and Complaint Review Council (CPCRC).

The MRB was established by the Legislature to investigate deaths in correctional facilities with the State and to make recommendations for improving the delivery of health care to detainees and sentenced offenders.

The CPCRC was established by the Legislature to address the need for increased public participation in the oversight of local correctional facilities, oversees the inmate complaint and grievance process, and advise the Commission. The Council is comprised of seven members appointed by the Governor with advice and consent of the Senate.

The Commission is primarily a field services agency, with various regions in the State being serviced by Correctional Facility Specialists from its Field Operations Bureau.

Legal and support service units complete the agency's staff.

To view the organizational table of the Commission in PDF form, Click Here Organizational Chart

To obtain a free version of Adobe Acrobat, click here.