Table of Topics
Academy Chain of Command
History of the Academy
Courses for CO Recruits
Law and Compliance
Health and Safety
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Warden Cathyreen Bailey
Middle Village (Queens),
New York, N.Y. 11379
AccommodationsThe New York City Correction Academy consists of 39,000 square feet of space furnished specifically for the training needs of the department. This facility is three times larger than the school's prior accommodations. The Academy accommodations include:
Academy Chain of Command
History of the Academy
The New York City Department of Correction was the first in the United States to establish a Correction Officer Training School. Before moving to Queens, the Academy was housed in a succession of locations which were not originally intended for its use and which it rapidly outgrew.
The City of New York began training Correction Officers in 1927. The New York Police Department provided the instruction until the 1930s when the Correction Department instituted its own curriculum at the old Workhouse on Welfare Island (now called Roosevelt Island). These classes included physical training as well as procedural direction for handling inmate needs. Prior to the establishment of a training school at the Firehouse on Rikers Island in 1939, Correction Officers were referred to as "prison keepers."
By 1943, the Department was regarded by the Federal government and other jurisdictions as a leader and innovator for offering on-the-job training. Classes addressed general deportment, care of uniforms and equipment, duties and responsibilities of various assigned posts, and seminars by guest speakers on sociology, penology, parole, probation, and fingerprinting.
Between 1947 and 1955, the training became more comprehensive in scope. The Department produced a "Guide for the Correction Officer," which covered procedures. The training for the recruit officer was five weeks in duration. In addition to the training for officers, there was a two-week orientation for newly appointed civilian clerks. During the mid-1950s, training took place in the Department's personnel offices, then on the 14th floor of 100 Pap Street in Manhattan, until classes could be moved to Rikers Island. In 1954, the Department prepared 1,680 new officers for deployment to correctional facilities. Training had come a long way since 1931, when the school graduated 50 new officers.
In 1957, the Correction Academy moved to Rikers Island and was located in a two-story "White House," previously used to house employees. Converted to classroom space, it was dedicated at ceremonies July 3, 1957. Mayor Robert F. Wagner and Commissioner Anna M. Kross officiated.
In 1961, the Police Department's range at Rodman's Neck was opened. Firearms training was provided to members of New York City's law enforcement agencies. Based on voluntary participation, the Correction Department allowed each member of the uniformed force to demonstrate firearms qualifications annually.
Firearms training was given an added emphasis in 1963 when it stressed, not just technical competency, but also the legal responsibilities inherent in a peace officer's use of a weapon. The thorough, new course produced a 25 percent improvement in the qualification rate. It is worth noting that the Department initiated training in peace officers' responsibilities long before the New York State "Peace Officer Bill" (1980) mandated certain training criteria.
Over the next several years, training was refined and amplified according to the Department's needs but the expansion put a severe strain on the facilities. By 1975 it was time to move again. The Academy relocated to the Manhattan House of Detention for Men. This arrangement continued until 1979, when the school returned to Rikers Island, occupying a temporary structure originally designated for inmate education. The Academy found increasing difficulties "borrowing" indoor space when large training areas were needed. During cold weather, the Academy's needs often were in conflict with space needed for inmate activities that, of necessity, took priority.
As the search for a new home continued, the Academy occupied two more temporary locations. The first was in the old North Facility building on Rikers Island, where it had an eight-week residency beginning in June. The second move was to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for another eight-week period until it could begin the transfer to the present site on Metropolitan Avenue in Queens.
In 1985 for the first time in its then 58-year history, the Correction Academy found a home of its own. These quarters are three times larger than the school's prior accommodations. The 38,478 square feet have been furnished specifically for its needs. On October 25, of that year, the Board of Estimate approved a 15-year lease for occupancy of the Middle Village premises.
The current training sequence spans 15 weeks and covers such topics as interpersonal communications, the social sciences, human relations, cultural awareness, legal principles, inmate programs, CPR/First Aid, physical conditioning, security skills such as search procedures, count and movement and escorting inmates, as well as on-the-job training.
The content of the recruit curriculum is determined by a variety of factors. First and foremost, the curriculum must address the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully perform correction officer duties in the institutional environment. In addition, because Correction Officers are also peace officers, the curriculum must conform to course requirements mandated by the Municipal Police Training Council (MPTC). The MPTC is the authority that grants peace officer certification. Finally, the New York State Commission of Correction requires that all Correction Academies in the State offer certain core course material and mandates a minimum number of instructional hours that are to be allotted to those areas.
Correctional course material must be constantly updated in response to changes in Departmental policy and procedures, changes in laws relating to correction, government commissions and the course evaluation forms that you complete at the end of your training. The following Academy staff are responsible for maintaining the curriculum: