Dora Schriro, Correction Commissioner, Blasted By Jail Guard Union [Updated]
In an unusual advertisement published in the New York Daily News, the Correction Officers Benevolent Association accused Schriro of slashing security posts but fattening her staff with civilians making more than $100,000 a year.
"We're already cut to the bone," the ad states, decorated with the image of a grim reaper with blood on his scythe. "Let Dora explore somewhere else!"
"A New York City Correction Officer will die because of commissioner Dora Schriro's mismanagement of the Department of Correction," the ad continues.
Update: A DOC spokeswoman disputed the claims in the ad. More after the jump.
Schriro, the union claims, has cut 200 security posts through attrition, but doubled to 60 the number of high-paid bureaucrats. Meanwhile, more correction officers are being assaulted--85 this year to date, and inmate-on-inmate violence is on the rise. Two weeks ago, an officer suffered a slash wound that required 15 stitches to close. Overall, the jail system is 1,000 officers below the recommended number, the union says.
"In these austere times, the priority seems to be adding bean counters rather than safety and security," a union spokesman said.
COBA President Norman Seabrook said he met with Schriro today. Although she didn't want to discuss the advertisement, she agreed to take several steps, he said.
She said she would appoint someone to oversee the severely backlogged punitive segregation unit. There are 900 inmates who have committed infractions but can't be placed in punitive segregation because there isn't any room, Seabrook said.
Schriro also agreed to reexamine the disciplinary system, which Seabrook contends is too quick to fire officers.
"We got some things done," Seabrook said. "I'm not going to have officers brutally attacked."
DOC spokeswoman Sharman Stein provided us the following statement: "The NYC Department Of Correction is one of the largest jail systems in the country and it is run well. Everything we do is directed towards enhancing safety and security for staff and inmates and it shows - both inmate fights and serious injuries to staff are down. We are at our best when there is input from staff and other stakeholders and we welcome suggestions that enhance our operations."
The department plans to hire an additional 200 more officers.