Chris Gelardi

Chris Gelardi is a reporter for New York Focus investigating the state’s criminal-legal system. His work has appeared in more than a dozen other outlets, most frequently The Nation, The Intercept, and The Appeal. He is a past recipient of awards from Columbia and Northwestern universities to cover immigration enforcement, US militarism, contemporary colonialism, and county jails. His investigations into the use of a police gang database in Washington, DC, have spurred lawsuits and legislation. He’s based in Queens.


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New York’s Prison Chief Ordered Guards to Illegally Shackle People to Desks
Anthony Annucci’s internal memo tells staff to restrain incarcerated people during any out-of-cell time, affecting at least 5,000.
November 7, 2022
Lesser Infractions Aren’t Supposed to Land You in Solitary Confinement. They Do Anyway.
New York prisons have illegally sent at least 1,100 people to solitary confinement for infractions that aren’t eligible for the punishment, a New York Focus analysis has found.
October 24, 2022
Rikers Staff Tampered With Records, Hiding Intake Rule Violations, Documents Show
Rikers staff repeatedly altered records to extend the clock on a 24-hour time limit for holding people in notorious intake cells.
October 17, 2022
Solitary by Another Name: How State Prisons Are Using ‘Therapeutic’ Units to Evade Reforms
A landmark solitary confinement reform law created a new, “rehabilitative” type of isolation unit. In practice, they’re often little different from the solitary units they were meant to replace.
October 5, 2022
Prisons Are Illegally Throwing People With Disabilities Into Solitary Confinement
Lawmakers banned solitary confinement for people with disabilities. But the state prison agency has crafted its own policies.
September 26, 2022
State Prisons Are Routinely Violating New York’s Landmark Solitary Confinement Law
Five months after a law to scale back solitary confinement went into effect, a majority of the New York prison system’s solitary population had been held there for longer than the law permits.
September 12, 2022
A Prison Used Solitary Confinement to Force a Trans Man to Undergo a Genital Exam, Lawsuit Alleges
Prison officials had already seen his genitals three times. But the superintendent ordered a more invasive exam, the lawsuit alleges. (Note: detailed descriptions.)
August 31, 2022
Distrust, Power Wrangling, and the Battle Over Rochester’s Next Public Defender
The Monroe County legislature’s president, Sabrina LaMar, has denigrated public defenders and shut them out of the now-eight-month-long process to appoint the next head of their office.
August 23, 2022
Real Estate Is Funding Eric Adams’s Fifth Homeless ‘Outreach’ Initiative. What’s the End Game?
The partnership split homeless advocates: Some welcomed the additional dollars, arguing “more is better,” while others predicted they would function mainly to keep people off corporate property.
August 2, 2022
An Opening for Defendants’ Rights on New York’s Highest Court
The court’s last term included a slew of cases rolling back defendants’ rights. Progressives hope to reset that trajectory.
July 14, 2022
Eric Adams Wants to ‘Drill Into’ Complaints Against NYPD Gun Unit Trainees. So We Did.
Officers trained for the NYPD’s new Neighborhood Safety Teams average nearly double the number of substantiated civilian complaints than the NYPD as a whole.
July 11, 2022
We’re About to Know a Lot More About NYPD Misconduct
Two years after the repeal of a state law that kept police performance records secret, documents narrating alleged NYPD abuse are starting to become public. But it could still be years until they’re all released.
June 30, 2022
NYPD “Business Improvement” Officers Dismantled a Homeless Encampment During a Memorial for a Dead Resident
As part of an initiative by Mayor Eric Adams, the city has swept the encampment where Jose Hernandez would often sleep nearly 10 times this year.
June 14, 2022
The State Police Sent You a Friend Request
Twice this year, Kathy Hochul has ordered a State Police-run fusion center to beef up its social media monitoring. Documents show that analysts create fake accounts to do that work.
June 13, 2022
Exclusive: Here Are the New NYPD Gun Units’ Trainees. Many Have Histories of Excessive Force Complaints.
Adams promised they’d be different. But a roster compiled by New York Focus shows that officers who trained for the new teams allegedly beat, harassed, and illegally arrested people while previously working on plainclothes teams.
May 23, 2022
Eric Adams Wants Weapons Detectors in the Subway. Would That Bring Safety or “Absolute Chaos”?
“Expect delays, expect secondary screening, expect frustration and expect to miss your train from time to time.”
May 10, 2022
Retired Judges and Advocates: Don’t Let Cops Interrogate Kids Without a Lawyer
A bill in the state legislature would prohibit police from interrogating minors before they consulted with a lawyer.
May 6, 2022
How New York State Just Rolled Back Criminal Justice Reforms
The final budget made changes to bail law, discovery law, pre-arraignment detention, involuntary commitment and more.
April 9, 2022
Read the Senate’s Draft Compromise on Bail Reform
New York Focus obtained and analyzed a proposal presented by Senate leadership to the chamber’s Democratic caucus.
March 30, 2022
Kathy Hochul Is Ready to Spend Millions on New Police Surveillance
New York state legislators have just days to question phone hacking, forensics, and fusion centers before the budget passes.
March 29, 2022
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