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Mayor Eric Adams with three correction officers
The Rikers Debate Program Is Slowly Collapsing

A seemingly minor change in access to city jails has made it much harder for a lauded debate course to recruit volunteers.

Sam Mellins   ·   September 29, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams standing with his back to the camera, facing a poster reading "Rikers Island NYCD".
Rikers Programs Suffer After Cuts, Despite Mayor’s Promises

The Adams administration said the city would replace discontinued Rikers courses. “I can say for certain that that’s not true,” one worker told New York Focus.

Sam Mellins   ·   September 28, 2023
Broome County jail from the exterior
‘Doom County Jail’: Dysfunction Plagues Program for Incarcerated Opioid Users

Men locked up in the Broome County jail describe an opioid treatment program so shoddy, they risk withdrawal, relapse, and overdose.

Spencer Norris   ·   September 27, 2023
The Secret Memos New York Courts Refuse to Give Up

New York Focus revealed routine secret instructions used to guide judges’ decisions. Civil rights lawyers are suing to make them public.

Sam Mellins   ·   September 5, 2023
Legal Aid’s Lawsuit Against Its Landlord Is Over — But Staff Say the Mold Problem That Drove It Persists

The iconic public defense organization is due back in its Brooklyn office Monday. Attorneys, reporting health complications, say they’ve dreaded the return.

Maggie Duffy   ·   August 28, 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.

Chris Gelardi and Arabella Saunders   ·   August 10, 2023
A picture of Emily Gallagher in floor debate
Human Rights Watchdog Investigates Landlords, Teachers, and Dentists — But Not Cops or Prison Guards

The state Division of Human Rights considers prisons, jails, and police departments exempt from human rights law.

Nathan Porceng   ·   August 10, 2023
Darkened courthouse in New York City
New York Drug Courts Are a Black Box

Mixed evidence was piling up about a signature New York drug policy experiment. Then the state stopped releasing the data.

Spencer Norris   ·   August 4, 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.

Chris Gelardi and Naina Purushothaman   ·   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.

Chris Gelardi   ·   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.

Chris Gelardi   ·   June 28, 2023
Dramatic photo of the Court of Appeals in Albany, New York
New York’s Top Court Just Wrapped Up a Chaotic Term. Here’s What We Learned.

Former Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s resignation broke a conservative lock on the Court of Appeals.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 22, 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.

Chris Gelardi   ·   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.

Chris Gelardi   ·   June 6, 2023
Kathy Hochul, Robert Ortt, Hector LaSalle, and Anthony Palumbo superimposed over the New York Court of Appeals building.
Amid Democratic Outcry Over LaSalle, Hochul Turned to Republicans

The governor’s team coordinated meetings between her failed chief judge nominee and Senate Republicans in the days before a key committee vote, emails show.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 2, 2023
Empty chairs in a circle with the shadows of jail bars over it.
New York Mandates Peer Support in Jails, But Lets Sheriffs Keep Peers Out

Formerly incarcerated “peers” offer drug counseling to people in county jails — when they can get in.

Spencer Norris   ·   May 31, 2023
Attica Correctional Facility on a winter day in Attica, New York.
Will New York Stop Letting Prisons Police Themselves?

A new bill would subject the state prison system to independent oversight for sexual assault complaints. The Senate has two weeks to bring it to a floor vote.

Victoria Law   ·   May 25, 2023
Collage of photos of Anthony Annucci
Prison Chief Anthony Annucci to Retire

Annucci has been characterized as an institutionalist loyal to the prison system above all else — even, at times, the law.

Maia Hibbett   ·   May 18, 2023
Anthony Annucci’s Ten-Year Temp Job

Andrew Cuomo named Anthony Annucci acting commissioner of New York prisons back in 2013. Now, someone his agency incarcerates is trying to take him out.

Rebecca McCray   ·   May 4, 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.

Chris Gelardi   ·   May 2, 2023
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