New York City Correction Department chief William Clemons has been called a lot of things during his 29-year career, and most of them during the latter portion were anything but positive.
In a 2012 internal audit that was later scrubbed by then-Commissioner Dora Schriro, Clemons and another ranking official were found to have “abdicated all responsibility” in their duties to oversee the juvenile detention center, which at the time was mired in what the DOJ described as “a deep-seated culture of violence.” Ponte, who promoted Clemons in May, told the councilmembers that Clemons was “on a long-planned vacation.” Now it appears that vacation is permanent.
Clemons also presided over an era of unprecedented violence at the juvenile unit on Rikers. Correction officers used “headshots” to contain teenaged inmates, taunted them while they attempted suicide in solitary confinement, and beat inmates who refused to stifle reports of violence.
In a joint statement released this morning, Mark-Viverito and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said, “For too long, the Department of Correction has been rife with the mismanagement and mistreatment of inmates, and the Council’s oversight has only served to further shed light on the deep-seated issues plaguing the DOC.
“We thank U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara for spearheading investigations and urge Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Ponte to appoint new leadership that will commit to implementing transparent and humane policies that will keep the public safe, maintain the dignity of the City’s jailed population and resolve long-standing allegations of abuse and neglect at Rikers Island.”
In 2011, The New York Times reported that 375 jailhouse fights were swept under the rug under Clemons’ watch as warden. To think he was able to get promoted after that.
And so it goes, go riddance to the real life Bunny Colvin.
Photo: New York Department of Corrections