To pursue, preserve & promote
the history

NYCHS treasurer Leasa McLeish chats with State Correction Captain Robb Henderson of the Queensboro Correctional Facility.

services throughout the City & State
New York.

NYCHS Organizational Meeting Report -- Part II

The NYCHS Constitution and Bylaws declares that for its purposes the term "Correction" shall be understood as referring to detention of accused persons, youth and adult, before and during proceedings to resolve charges, incarceration resulting from determinations in such proceedings, alternatives to detention and incarceration (including probation and parole), and rehabilitation efforts during and after detention, incarceration, probation and parole. 

NYCHS trustees confer: Long-time Board of Correction member Barbara Margolis and NYC DOC First Deputy Commissioner Gary Lanigan.

In keeping with that broad inclusive approach, the Constitution also provides that individual NYCHS membership shall be open

  • --- at all correctional agencies throughout the City and State to current and former employees, their families' interested members, the officers and employees of their agencies' recognized unions, current and former officials and employees of their agencies' oversight boards or commissions, current and former employees of their agencies' contract service providers, their agencies' recognized volunteers, and members of their agencies' community and youth outreach programs.

  • -- At accredited colleges, universities and technical institutes: professors and instructors in criminal justice subjects, and students pursuing those studies; professors, instructors, and students in history and related fields whose studies significantly intersect with New York correction history.

  • -- Specialists: judges who monitor or have monitored correctional agencies, those judges' staffs and others assisting in those monitorings; members and staffs of legislative committees whose mandate specifically includes correctional issues; historians and journalists who regularly research and write on correction-related subjects; officials and full-time employees of community-based organizations engaged in post-release rehabilitative and support programs for former inmates of correctional agencies that enter into working relationships with the society.

NYCHS vice president Gerard O'Gara signs the chartering petition.

NYCHS general secretary Thomas McCarthy signs the chartering petition.

In New York, historical societies incorporate under the State Education Law. The organizational meeting, its agenda resolutions and the draft constitution/bylaws were designed to follow the letter and spirit of the State Regentsí "Chartering Historical Societies, Museums and Related Agencies in New York State." NYCHS needed formal adoption of enabling resolutions in order to petition the Regents for a Provisional Charter, the first step in a process leading to what is called an Absolute Charter. A search of records indicates no Regents-chartered correction history society exists throughout the city or state.

After adoption of the enabling resolutions, the elected trustees signed the charter petition with NYCHS Counsel Guarino witnessing the signatures as notary public. The signings completed the meeting agenda of organizational business and ceremonial remarks. Even so, many lingered to chat with correctional colleagues in other agencies and services, to exchange business cards, and to make contacts.

Among the approximately 100 persons attending were NYC Criminal Justice Deputy Coordinator Fredrick Patrick, Assistant Deputy Warden Collette Calender, representing ADWs & DWs Association president Sidney Schwartzbaum; Peter Benjaminson, representing Correction Officers' Benevolent Association president Norman Seabrook.

Correction Captains Association president Peter Meringolo addresses NYCHS as a member of its Board of Trustees.

Also representatives of the Guardians, Native American, and Correction Officers for Christ organizations; representatives of NYC Health Department's Correctional Health Services; Timothy F. Lisante, director of the NYC Board of Education's Alternative Initiatives with schools on Rikers Island, and Correction Law Enforcement Explorer Scouts with their leaders COs Daphne Glover and Alan Russell.

Also Westchester County Historical Society trustee Roger Panetta, a Marymount College associate professor of history; Westchester Community College Associate Professor Hugh O'Rourke, formerly with NYPD; retired NYPD detective-sergeant and history researcher Michael E. J. Bosak; Dr. Lee Bernstein, University of Colorado at Boulder American Studies Program instructor; and New York public historian Kathleen Hulser.

As a courtesy to those in attendance who had never visited The Tombs before, Warden Jorge Ocasio escorted a group on a tour of the facility. The last visitors left well in time to arrive home to see the start of the All Star Game. Picking up on the baseball motif, many who attended the NYCHS organizational meeting called it "a hit" getting New York correction history "to first base" and "into the game" at long last. NYCHS trustee Barbara Margolis, founder of Fresh Start and NYC Criminal Justice Agency trustee, summed up the sentiment of many in the audience when she commented during the meeting program: "I've been looking 30 years to see this happen!"

Go to NYCHS Organizational Meeting -- Part I
(NYCHS enabling resolution, elected officers, speakers and other participants, and planned activities.)

Photo credit: C.O. Ralph E. Smith
NOTE: Position titles and the names of agencies, associations, and institutions are provided for identification and background purposes.

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