Mayor Eric Adams names Lynelle Maginley-Liddie new Department of Correction commissioner

Darla Miles Image
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Mayor Adams names Lynelle Maginley-Liddie as new DOC commissioner
Darla Miles has more on the city's new commissioner for the Department of Correction.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Lynelle Maginley-Liddie is taking the reins as the 38th commissioner of New York City's Department of Correction Friday afternoon, affirming her commitment to the city's fight to retain oversight of Rikers Island.

Rikers Island, New York City's largest jail, has been plagued with inmate suicides, drug-related deaths, and violence.

The federal government has a monitor overseeing the issues there and at other NYC jails, but Mayor Eric Adams is hoping to overhaul the beleaguered jail system by naming a new commissioner for the Department of Correction.

"I've been at the department for the last eight years and I have a really good, open relationship with the Monitor and we're going to continue to build on that," Maginley-Liddie said.

Amid ongoing protests to close the infamous jail, Mayor Adams is tapping the West Indian native to tackle the decades-old violence, health and safety problems at Rikers that Eyewitness News has been closely following for years.

"What we can't do as the commissioner just stated, is sit back and state that while something may happen, we have to function now," Mayor Adams said.

Maginley-Liddie replaces embattled Commissioner Louis Molina, appointed as deputy commissioner of public safety two months ago. Court documents filed by the federal monitor this summer accused Molina of covering up severe incidents of violence.

The appointment comes after U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams officially filed to request a federal takeover of Rikers in November, citing a lack of significant improvements under two mayors and four correction commissioners.

"We have to respond and we will be responding in January to the issues, as you've heard before. Our position is we don't see what a receiver can do," said Sylvia Hinds-Radix of the NYC Corporation Counsel.

Both the union and the federal monitor say they welcome this appointment. In court documents the federal monitor writes this reflects the city's renewed commitment to transparency, collaboration and communication.

Maginley-Liddie joined the force as an agency attorney in 2015 before being promoted to deputy general counsel in 2018. During her time at the DOC, she has led its General Litigation Unit, provided guidance on complex agency matters and spearheaded efforts to make on-site COVID-19 vaccinations accessible to departmental staff.

A local college graduate, Maginley-Liddie received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and her B.A. from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Maginley-Liddie will report to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, Philip Banks III.

ALSO READ | Federal Monitor takes action against Riker's new housing plan

Dan Krauth has more on the investigation.


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