Correx Dept. underreports major injuries, study reveals

By: 
REUVEN BLAU

The city Correction Department underreports the number of inmates seriously injured in its jails and lockups -- and doesn't even have a reliable way to count them, a new report says.

In all, 67% of 149 serious injuries audited were never recorded as any type of incident by the department, says the Board of Correction report published online Monday night.

"DOC's investigation process for injuries is plagued by delays, poor accountability, and incomplete reviews," the 29-page report concluded.

Serious injuries include the following: cuts that require stitches, certain types of fractures and dislocations, postconcussion syndrome, and the "disabling" of an organ.

The Correction Department was also slow to respond to inmates seriously injured, investigators found.

"On average, it took approximately two hours for seriously injured incarcerated people to receive medical attention after a DOC supervisor was notified of the injury," the review says.

The majority of serious injures involved cuts requiring sutures. All told, 53% were at least partially caused by an "inmate-on-inmate" fight.

There's a big difference between the number of serious injuries reported by NYC Health + Hospitals' Correctional Health Services workers and the number of incidents reported internally and publicly by the Correction Department, the board's report says.

Health Services workers reported 816 seriously injured inmates in 2017 -- but the Department of Correction reported just 158, records show.

Jail brass said they are working to determine the cause for the data discrepancy.

The Board of Correction -- a city agency that monitors and inspects jails -- recommended the Correction Department and Correctional Health Services immediately start to publish monthly detailed data on serious injuries.

It also recommended the agencies come up with new protocols to make sure all cases are reported.