NYS Seal



Merger of the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) and the Division of Parole into the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).

To explore the implementation and progress of merging DOCS and the Division of Parole into the new Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. The agencies were merged as part of the SFY 2011-12 enacted budget and the Executive estimated that the merger would save $6.5 million in SFY 2011-12 and a projected $8 million annualized. The stated purpose of the merger was to streamline departmental functions, eliminate duplication of effort, achieve better outcomes for more offenders and enhance public safety, while simultaneously reducing expenditures and saving taxpayer dollars. The committee will examine the benefits of the merger and the challenges facing the new entity. In particular the committee will explore (1) the streamlining of departmental functions and its impact to employees, inmates, and persons released to community supervision; (2) how the merger has facilitated reentry services in order to increase the likelihood of offenders' successful reintegration into society thus increasing public safety; and (3) the implementation of the Transition Accountability Plan and the Parole Board procedures in an era of risk and needs guided principles.

November 10th, 2011
11:00 A.M.
Roosevelt Hearing Room C
Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor
Albany, New York

The new DOCCS is responsible for the combined custody and supervision of approximately 95,000 inmates and persons under community supervision as well as for providing administrative support to the Board of Parole which retained independent oversight of release determinations for certain offenders. The Executive's stated purpose for this merger was to enhance the successful reintegration of offenders returning to the community following incarceration and to avoid duplicative re-entry functions and related staff. The Commissioner of DOCCS is responsible for the care, custody, treatment and supervision of the individual, whether in a facility or in the community. In addition, DOCCS is now responsible for setting policy and making decisions regarding supervision of all persons released on parole or post-release supervision, merit terminations for certain non-violent offenders and drug offenders and the issuance of Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct.

Housed within the new entity, the Board of Parole continues to be statutorily maintained as an independent entity but is reliant upon DOCCS for administrative support. The Board of Parole maintains jurisdiction over parole release decisions and the setting of conditions for all inmates released to supervision. Additionally, revocations, discharge from sentence, and parole related appeals will remain under the auspices of the Board along with the supervision of administrative law judges, and its own counsel's office.

This hearing will provide an opportunity for the committee to hear from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Board of Parole, community-based programs and other stakeholders about the implementation of the merger, and what, if any, additional resources are needed to effectively implement the seamless, more comprehensive operation through a continuum of care from the moment an offender enters the correctional system until he or she successfully completes the required period of community supervision.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be limited to ten (10) minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to the Committee staff as early as possible.

Twenty (20) copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's hearing. In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Jeffrion L. Aubry
Member of Assembly
Committee on Correction

  1. How have the employees of the former Division of Parole been integrated into the new Department of Corrections and Community Supervision? Has there been a cultural shift required to blend the agencies together?

  2. The Executive originally estimated that the merger would save $6.5 million in SFY 2011-12. However, recent reports from DOCCS indicate the savings to be $17 million this fiscal year. How have the additional $10.5 million in savings been realized? What greater efficiencies have resulted from this merger? Has there been any reduction in personnel and, if so, by what means? What, if anything, was sacrificed?

  3. How have the policies and practices of the Department changed to reflect the new mission and priority placed on successful reentry outcomes? What changes have taken place for inmates and staff within correctional facilities? Within Central Office? What additional resources, if any, are needed to accomplish the new mission?

  4. How has the expanded focus on reentry impacted the field supervision of parolees? Have the caseloads of Parole Officers been reduced, increased or remained the same? Has the number of contacts with each person under supervision increased? What additional resources are needed to improve field supervision?

  5. What new policies, practices and procedures has the Department implemented in order to better prepare inmates for successful reentry? How have facility parole officers been impacted by the merger and how are they being utilized to support the expanded focus on reentry?

  6. What is the current status of the Transitional Accountability Plan (TAP)? Is TAP being utilized for some or all new offenders entering the Department today? How is TAP being applied to those inmates who were already under custody at the time of the merger and how are such inmates being prepared for reentry?

  7. What impact, if any, has there been on the operation of the Board of Parole? What has been the result thus far of the administrative reliance of the Board upon the Department? What impact has the merger had upon the revocation process, Administrative Law Judges or Counsel's office?

  8. What is the current status of the written procedures required to be established by the Board of Parole for its use in making release decisions in accordance with risk and needs principles to measure the rehabilitation of persons appearing before the board and the likelihood of success of such persons upon release? What additional resources, if any, are needed to improve the Board of Parole?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the joint public hearing on the Merger of the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) and the Division of Parole into the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail, email or fax it to:

Tana Agostini
Assembly Committee on Correction
AESOB, 11th Floor
Albany, New York 12248
Email: agostinit@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4313
Fax: (518) 455-3669
I plan to attend the joint public hearing on the Merger of the Department of Correctional Services and the Division of Parole to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Correction on Thursday, November 10, 2011, in Albany, NY.
I would like to make a public statement at the joint hearing. My statement will be limited to ten (10) minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide twenty (20) copies of my prepared statement.
I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

I do not plan to attend the above hearing.
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