Image of Page 8 of the March 1982 issue of NYC DOC's Inside Out tabloid-size newsletter.

Page 8 of the March 1982 issue of the NYC Department of Correction Inside Out newsletter [See image of Page 8 at right] consisted of:
  • a biographical article about Richard J. Koehler, then new First Deputy Commissioner (and 4 years later became Commissioner),
  • a story about sentenced inmates fixing up city parks,
  • a continuation of a biographical article about new Inspector General Randall Eng, and
  • a photograph of Capt. Andra Giles being honored by COs at HDM.

The staff of Inside Out included Errol D. Toulon, then a C.O. who served as its photographer.

In due course, he would rise through the ranks to become Correction Academy Deputy Warden during the 1990s.

In the summer of 2010, Toulon, a Monroe College professor, made available to this website a copy of the March 1982 issue of Inside Out. From that issue copy, the NYCHS webmaster has created this eight-page web presentation of extracted images and texts.

This web page's images and texts were extracted from that newsletter issue's Page 8.

The day after Richard J. Koehler first came to work at the Department of Correction, one of his aides was heard fran- tically asking a fellow worker, “He wants the meeting at Sixteen Hundred. When’s Sixteen Hundred?”

PAINTING FENCES was one of chores assumed by park crew from CIFM as part of heralded new inmate work program.
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The Department of Parks and Correction are cooperating on a new work project designed to benefit both agencies — the deployment of selected inmates to help renovate city parks and playgrounds.

The project, which began without fanfare last fall at a park in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, received acclaim from newspaper editorialists and mebers of the communities involved after it gained public attention in January.

Typical of the praise heaped upon the effort was a letter from Stephen P. Saltzman, swimming teacher at Boys and Girls High School, who was amazed at the ability of the sentenced inmates involved to clean and spruce up the St. John’s Recreational Center on Prospect Place in Brooklyn.

“During the course of this program, Correction Officer Isaac Rodriques and Correction Officer John Hopson and their charges have done an excellent job,” Saltzman wrote. “At all times, men from the correctional institution have been courteous and hardworking. It is as if they were members of a professional work crew. Officers Rodriques and Hopson have carefully deployed their men and have seen that security is always a top priority.”

The two CIFM officers have been steady escorts for between 10 and 15 inmates each work day, driving them from Rikers Island to the work site with a stop at the local police precinct to check in and pick up police radios.

The program was devised by Robert Keating, the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Coordinator along with former Associate Correction Commissioner Hildy Simmons, who was a member of Keating’s staff at the time. The enthusiastic cooperation of Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis and Correction Commissioner Benjamin Ward was quickly enlisted.

Worksites were selected carefully by the Parks Department, which said that no project would be designed to deploy inmates in work routinely done by city employees. Rather, the Parks officials said, the CIFM work crew would be assigned important work that had gone undone for years for lack of personnel or funding.

Under the guidelines, inmates are eligible if they have 60 days or less to serve on 90 day sentences and if there are no incidents of drug-related, sex-related or assaultive crimes in their background. The screening process is supervised by Warden Alexander Jenkins and Deputy Warden Ralph Grano, who then refer selected inmates to Hopson and Rodriques for orientation.

All the inmates are volunteers who earn 50 cents per hour as well as the chance to perform meaningful work while they are doing time. “The inmates love it,” Rodriques said, “and the people we are helping, the people who use the parks, seem to be most appreciative."

At Bushwick Park in Brooklyn, the first worksite, rubbish was cleared, grass was mowed and shrubbery trimmed, fences were mended and painted, a bathhouse was cleaned and refurbished and park benches were repaired.

Similar work was accomplished at Sunset Park in Brooklyn before the winter weather chased the crew indoors — to the renovation of the St. John’s Center. It was there that the one negative incident associated with the program developed.

An inmate with barely seven weeks to serve bolted from a bathroom and ran away. He was picked up four hours later in his house in the Bronx and charged with escape. Why would someone who has seven weeks to serve risk a zero-to-seven year sentence for escape? Hopson just shakes his head.

“You know all fall we were outdoors,” he said. “Here, we’re indoors and this guy makes a run for it. But then nothing about that sort of thing makes sense. These men are in this program because it doesn’t pay for them to escape. This guy obviously felt he had to get home.” Hopson and Rodriques, who are armed during their time away from Rikers Island with the CIFM inmates, have the right to eliminate from their work crews any inmates who they find troublesome or unproductive.

“Since the sentences are so short, turnover can be a problem,” Hopson said. “But we find that the veterans tend to break the new men in and there is a continuity. I think our presence here is important, too. We’ve learned a lot about this sort of work as we’ve gone along.”

Following the brief escape, Commissioners Davis and Ward and the Mayor’s office all endorsed the program and said it would continue. A secondary phase of the program puts adolescents (who are excluded from consideration for outside work under tile guidelines) into the tree nursery on Rikers Island, where they worked under the supervision of officers and Parks Department employees preparing trees for replanting throughout the city.

Yes, there is a bit of the military left in the department’s new First Deputy Commissioner, who does have four years of the U. S. Navy in his past. But Koehler’s staff won’t have to worry too much about that until he asks them to report at

“Twenty-five Hundred.” If there was any problem Koehler confronted as he began functioning as the department’s second in command it was that there were not enough hours in the day.

“I have a great deal to learn about every facet of this department,” Koehler said early on, “and there’s a great deal I want to accomplish, especially in the areas of management and training."

The crowning achievement of his career of more than 14 years with the New York Police Department came after Koehler’s appointment as Director of the Department’s Communications Division by Police Commissioner Robert McGuire. To accept the position, Koehler had to take a leave of absence from his uniformed rank of police lieutenant and he jumped at the chance.

In the three years that followed, Koehler was credited with restructuring the City’s “911” emergency system and modernizing the entire NYPD communications system. The result was an emergency communication system that is considered exceptionally responsive today, a far cry from the highly- publicized problem-child “911” was before Koehler took command of the 1,000-member division.

The Communications command was the last of a series of accomplishments at NYPD, where Koehler established himself as a labor relations specialist with an interest in the two areas that have consumed most of his early attention at Correction — management technique and in-service training.

“In the limited time I have spent here,” he said recently, “I have discovered what I think most of those here already knew: That we have a great deal of ability and dedication upon which to draw. Our job is to put in place a system that allows our employees to exploit their talent in ways that are meaningful both for themselves and the agency. People make agencies such as ours perform well and proper organization and training give them the chance to do it.”

It is clear that Koehler has put those principles into personal practice as well. After his discharge from the Navy, he entered the NYPD in 1967 and several years later began an academic career that was to include a bachelor’s degree in social science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1973, a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs from Hunter College during a year’s leave of absence with pay from the City in 1974 and a Juris Doctorate from the Fordham University School of Law in 1978 achieved in night classes after he returned to police work in 1974. Koehler was admitted to the New York State Bar in Janiiary 1979.

At Correction, Koehler took command of the personnel division, established the new inspectional services division and immediately went to work expanding and modernizing the Correction Department’s capabilities in two key areas — training and communications.

“If we had created an imaginary person who was expert in the areas that most needed attention,” Ward said several weeks after the arrival of his new first dep, “I don’t think we could have created a better fit for the job than we got in Dick Koehler.”

and maybe another thousand civilians,” he said. Still, working with Inspector General Robert Goldman and others in the Department, Eng was able to help eliminate a backlog in trial cases under a mandate from Commissioner Ben- jamin Ward, who had warned that the Department’s internal disciplinary mechanism had to be tied to a rapid adju- dication process if it was to have any ef- fect at all.

When Goldman moved from the IG’s chair to the leadership of the De- partment’s new Inspection Services Di- vision, Eng moved up to IG, a post that is somewhat unique because he reports to the heads of two municipal agencies, Correction and Investigation. “Without the confidence of both commissioners,~~ Eng says, “I don’t see how any IG could function.”

In his first weeks as IG, Eng said he found at least two reasons for optimism.

“I am absolutely delighted at the team we have here,” he said from behind his desk at 80 Centre Street. “It is a first- class investigative group that ranks with any other investigative unit I’ve encoun- tered in this town. The Department should be thankful such a team is in place.”

And his other satisfaction?

“Of all cases referred to this office for investigation,” Eng said, “we vindicate at least as many employees as we decide to refer for action. I’m happy about that. Believe me, I wish we didn’t have to move against any of our employees.”

Thanks, Captain
Officers at HDM decided to let Captain Andra Giles know exactly how much they appreciated his efforts, recently, presenting him with a certificate of appreciation for “Outstanding and Dedicated Service.” C.O. Fransco Velez makes presentation at roll call as his fellow officers applaud the popular supervisor.

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This is Page 8 of the New York Correction History Society's web presentation of images and texts extracted from NYC DOC's Inside Out issue of March 1982. Links to all 8 pages of the presentation -- each based on its corresponding page in the printed newsletter -- are listed below:

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