NYC DOC Mystery Photo #8 Solved! Part of CPSU CO Recruitment

All those named in 1988 CPSU CO recruitment flyer caption above match names suggested for those in Mystery Photo #8.
Though the people were positioned differently, the background was the same as was the photographer credited.

DOC Mystery Photo #8 was among a score of photos rescued from oblivion by history-minded personnel during the move of NYC Department of Correction central office staff from 60 Hudson St., Manhattan, to the Bulova Corporate Center in East Elmhurst the first weekend of June 2009.

It was among eight photos featured in a presentation posted in mid-June 2009 on the site. The access icon box for that presentation still resides on the site's home page. That icon box image appears immediately below:

The photos' rescuers thought -- quite correctly -- that your New York Correction History Society (NYCHS) would give the orphaned images some TLC and maybe even some IDs.

The starter page for that mid-June 2009 presentation features thumbnail images of eight photos from the score that had been rescued. Visitors to the page are invited to click a thumbnail image to access its linked larger version and see whether they are in the photo or recognize someone who is. They are invited to email the webmaster with information to help identify people in the picture, its the occasion, when and where it was taken.

Next to the thumbnail image on the presentation's starter page is a description based on the photo's visible content and on the information appearing on its back. See image immediately below, left:

Those who click the thumbnail image for Mystery Photo #8 on the starter page access a separate page showing an enlarged version of the picture and explaining the image is actually three sections of the photo, pressed together to enable visitors to click the sections to see even larger close-up versions of the sections to help with identifying the people.

See a three-in-one unified single image of Mystery Photo #8 immediately below, right:

In the years since June 2009, the Mystery Photo #8 -- its number refers to its place in a sequence of DOC Mystery Photos posted on the site, starting long before the move to Bulova -- has drawn a half dozen emails from web visitors. Taken together, their comments identified all the people in the picture but shed no light on when, where or why it was taken. Likewise, recently the photo has drawn interest on the New York Correction History Facebook group page, generating vigorous comment but no answers to the questions of when, where and why the photo was taken.

Thanks to CO Norberto Velez, Mystery Photo #8 Questions Answered

But those Mystery Photo #8 questions have now been answered because Bronx Courts Correction Officer Norberto Velez generously wanted to share with other DOCers a piece of Correction History he has preserved for a quarter century. He included an image of the March 31, 1988 CPSU CO Recruitment flyer as an attachment to a May 9, 2013 email he sent to the webmaster expressing welcome to returning to regular additions of presentations to the site.

See a reduced image of the flyer immediately below, right; click it to access a downloadable printable 8x10 144 dpi version:

C.O. Velez invited the web site to reproduce the photograph of the flyer he had received when he was a recruit at the Academy 25 years ago. In his initial email, he wrote:

"I have attached a newsletter that was given to me while I was a recruit in the NYC DOC Academy during a HDM CPSU recruitment back in March 1988.

"I took a picture of it. I have the original.

"Hopefully you can post it and it will bring some folks good memories."

In response to a series of follow-up questions by the webmaster, C.O. Velez, wrote:

"It was a one page sheet, nothing on reverse side. 8x11 black & white on stiff bond paper. I did not sign up for the CPSU assignment. I do not remember whom from CPSU gave us this flyer at the Academy. But this newsletter was a recruitment flyer, highlighting the CPSU program. This particular recruitment drive would have been either the 2nd or 3rd wave of recruits. I started the Academy on March 3, 1988. I have no other Newsline flyers."

CPSU Recruitment Flyer Preceded Emergence of Correction News

Obviously Mystery Photo #8 was taken as part of a photo shoot for the CPSU CO Recruitment drive. Clearly the flyer was not an issue of a regular newsletter. Note there was no Volume and Issue Numbers in the top-of-the-page nameplate and nothing printed on the reverse side.

DOC's regular black-ink-only newsletter, Inside Out, under Commissioners Benjamin Ward and Jacqueline McMickens appears to have been discontinued under Richard Koehler after he became Commissioner September 23, 1986. But the recruitment broadside sheet may have figured in the run up to the debut of the multi-colored-ink tabloid Correction News in June of 1988, only two months after publication of the flyer. See image of first issue of Correction News immediately below, left:

In this connection, note Spencer A. Burnett is mentioned as photographer with both papers, each produced by the DOC Office of Public Affairs. Both were printed on stiff bond paper.

If you come across DOC history relevant material that might otherwise be discarded, keep NYCHS and its in mind. Send us an image and, hopefully, we can give it a virtual home.

We are happy to give a web home to the image of the flyer C.O. Velez preserved and shared. We appreciate receiving it, given its historical value on its own terms, but also because it clears up previously unanswered questions about Mystery Photo #8.

Below is the text of the story that appears on the 1988 flyer. The three sections of Mystery Photo #8 have been dispersed in the text as web design elements. They were not in the original flyer; they're here to break up what would otherwise be a solid block of text.

CPSU Recruitment Flyer story text + Mystery Photo #8 Sections

The expanded Central Punitive Segregation Unit (CPSU) at the House of Detention for Men (HDM) on Rikers Island opened March 1 [1988] and Warden Marion Hopkins is already claiming a 20 percent reduction in unusual incidents at the jail.

With the completion of blocks 3 and 1A in April, the total capacity of 298 will be realized. Close to 140 inmates are housed in the unit now.

The CPSU at HDM, referred to as the "penitentiary,” will provide the needed housing flexibility for the correction system. Not only will the CPSU serve male inmates sentenced to punitive segregation, it will allow some of the existing punitive segregation areas in the other jails to be used for administrative segregation or be converted back to general population areas.

The department believes it is important for inmates to know that serious infractions will result in serious consequences. The CPSU accomplishes that very effectively.

After adequate notice and the appropriate due process hearing presided over by specially trained hearing captains, inmates found guilty and sentenced to CPSU, will be transferred to HDM to serve their sentence.

The swift transfer to CPSU will have the beneficial effect of controlling the inmate population, while adding to the ability of the department to control the jail environment. Better control of the inmates, a reduction in physical confrontation and the use of force are also crucial bi-products. Both the officials and most of the inmate population should benefit substantially.

Chief Thomas Murray sees the opening of the CPSU as a tremendous inmate management achievement. “I expect that the CPSU will serve as a formidable determent against infractions. Realizing that they will be moved from their assigned jail to the penitentiary, inmates will be disinclined to infract”, Chief Murray said.

Warden Hopkins said 96 officers, 98 percent of whom are probationary with less than eight months on the job, are assigned to CPSU.

“I went to the Training Academy, laid out my plan and asked for volunteers,” Warden Hopkins said, adding, the volunteers were put through an additional week of training that centered around the use of force, stress and interpersonal communications.”

The volunteers selected by Warden Hopkins spent another week with HDM staff before starting their CPSU assignment.

Warden Hopkins said he favored the correction officers who manifested the discipline learned in military and martial arts training.

The department will establish two temporary punitive segregation units for 90 days until the 298-bed CPSU is fully operational to ensure that punishment is swift and certain for inmates who require punitive segregation time. This measure will help eliminate the punitive segregation waiting list.

The two temporary units are located at Adolescent Reception and Detention Center (ARDC) and the Brooklyn Correctional Facility. ARDC is increasing its capacity to 132 by adding 66 punitive segregation beds for adults and the Brooklyn Correctional Facility is increasing its capacity 1030 from 21.

Even though the department, like other city agencies, is facing budgetary constraints, it is felt that the creation of a CPSU is crucial enough to the operation of this department to warrant the expenditure of $1,476,000 for the unit. Mayor Koch approved this expenditure and is encouraged by this new CPSU expansion.

Email --- webmaster Thomas C. McCarthy at NYCHS@NYC.RR.COM

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