Authors
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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Be a Jail Watchdog

New York Focus has published thousands of pages of county jail oversight records. Browse them in our database.

February 23, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul stands with a hand on her hip next to a New York state trooper on a cloudy day.
Kathy Hochul’s Copy-and-Paste Crime-Fighting Formula

This year, the governor’s budget contains an agenda to combat retail theft. It looks a lot like last year’s plan to curb gun violence.

January 16, 2024
The back of an open prison transport van
He Was Sick, So They Sent Him to Prison

New York jails can transfer people with mental illnesses to maximum security prisons, even while they’re legally innocent.

December 21, 2023
New NYPD officers smile amid blue and white confetti at police academy graduation ceremony.
NYPD Instructs Officers to Tase, Pepper Spray People Experiencing Debunked Syndrome

Police training materials link the discredited “excited delirium syndrome” to synthetic marijuana use.

December 12, 2023
State Senator Julia Salazar speaks at a podium.
Sweeping Salazar, Souffrant Forrest Bill Targets Rogue Prisons and Jails

The legislation cites multiple New York Focus investigations in its attempt to safeguard the rights of incarcerated people.

December 7, 2023
‘A Waste of Time’: Inside New York’s Broken Jail Accountability System

The state council that reviews grievances spent an average of eight seconds on each case in its last meeting — and rejected nearly all of them.

December 4, 2023
A man in a crowd holds a sign reading "New York Stands With Israel" and bearing the logos of several nonprofit groups.
New York Charities Send Combat Gear to West Bank Settlements

Israeli settlers have unleashed a wave of violence on Palestinians. With tax-deductible donations, New Yorkers can help equip them to carry it out.

November 16, 2023
New York’s Ties to Israel Bring the Gaza War Home

Even as experts warn of mass ethnic cleansing in Gaza, New York politicians have remained unwavering in their support for Israel since the Hamas attack. They’ve been less vocal about their state’s ties to the occupation of Palestine.

October 19, 2023
They Were Supposed to Be Free. Why Are They Locked Up?

New York has kept hundreds of people convicted of sex offenses in prison long past their release dates.

October 17, 2023
How Not to Close a Jail

A surprise plan to shutter a jail in Syracuse’s Onondaga County spurred a chaotic political skirmish — and left local incarcerated people in the lurch.

October 5, 2023
Assemblymember Harvey Epstein at a podium
Harvey Epstein Guns for Manhattan Democratic Party Leadership

The assemblymember wants to unseat Nico Minerva, right hand to party boss Keith Wright. The Manhattan Democrats vote on Thursday.

October 2, 2023
Keith Wright at a parade
Manhattan Democratic Party Boss Has a Target on His Back — Again

A group of Manhattan Democrats wants to force County Leader Keith Wright to choose between working for the party and working for a lobbying firm.

September 21, 2023
Inside the Chaos Brewing in the Manhattan Democratic Party

A raucous emergency meeting featured escalating alarm, bewilderment, a hot mic, dueling accusations of conflicts of interest, and a dramatic vote with two surprise twists.

August 10, 2023
CCRB chair Nairobi Vives, Mayor Kathy Sheehan, and Police Chief Eric Hawkins against a police car
Albany Police Block Misconduct Investigations, Neutering Landmark Oversight Law

Albany empowered its community oversight board. But the police department and the city’s top attorney are stonewalling.

August 2, 2023
Eric Adams seen through bars at Rikers Island
You Need One Form to Get Your Benefits Back After Jail. Rikers Doesn’t Just Hand It Over.

It was hard enough to get back on Social Security and Medicaid after incarceration. Then Eric Adams slashed reentry services.

July 12, 2023
A headshot of acting prison commissioner Daniel Martuscello III overlayed on a group of corrections officers standing in a row.
New Prison Chief Is a Son of the System

For Daniel Martuscello III, New York prisons are a family business.

June 28, 2023
A gray cement wall with black marker lines on it.
Prison Agency Rescinds Censorship Policy After New York Focus Reporting

The policy and its sudden reversal will be among Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci’s last acts.

June 7, 2023
A New Prison Policy Blocks Incarcerated Journalists and Artists From Publishing Their Work

New York prisons may have effectively banned journalism behind bars.

June 6, 2023
A bail bonds sign
Here’s What the Budget Would Do About Bail

Budget legislation released Monday night includes eight pages of bail law markups — significantly more than the governor announced last week. A vote is imminent.

May 2, 2023
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz speaks at a holiday celebration in Queens on December 19, 2021.
Queens DA to Pursue NYPD-Enforced Curfew for Pretrial Defendants

Police will receive photos of defendants with curfews and report alleged violations to District Attorney Melinda Katz.

April 24, 2023
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