To the Editor: On Feb. 19, The Chief-Leader reported that the Correction Department is again forcing its officers to work triple shifts.

Commissioner Cynthia Brann has abandoned NYC correction officers.

Under her command, they have been physically assaulted and verbally abused by inmates on a regular basis. Mayor de Blasio has appointed many Commissioners to lead city agencies, but Brann is the managerial placebo.

In addition to the daily abuse by inmates, many correction officers have been forced to work three consecutive tours of duty during recent months, sometimes even without a break to eat.

The forced 24-hour shifts are not new. In April last year, correction officers were forced to work 24 hours straight in the early stages of the COVID pandemic and de Blasio said that was "a dumb managerial mistake."

Further, on April 23 the Mayor tweeted, "The idea of a 24 hour shift being imposed on our Correction Officers was a mistake and NEVER should have happened...I promise we have your back and that this will never happen again."

Mr. Mayor, it did happen again and on a regular basis, because a placebo is inert and has no effect.

This is not a case of an emergency situation pursuant to unforeseen circumstances. This is managerial ineptitude.

A flyer issued by the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association reads, "24 Hour Shifts Are A Death Sentence! NYC Correction Officers Are Forced To Work 24 Hour Shifts, Missing Meals, Missing Sleep, And Jeopardizing Their Health During The Covid-19 Pandemic."

The COBA desperately tried to get DOC to end the forced overtime and provide regular meal periods for their members, with only sporadic success.

Cynthia Brann is reminiscent of French Queen Marie Antoinette when 18th-century Parisians complained of horrible working and living conditions and could not afford to buy bread. Subsequently, nothing was done by the aristocracy or the bourgeois class to help the working people of France.

Legend has it that when the Queen was told that the people did not have bread to eat, she responded, "Let them eat cake," oblivious to the fact that cake was more expensive than bread.

Like Marie Antoinette, the nonchalant Cynthia Brann is completely disconnected from the people. Apparently Brann is not concerned about officers who, as was also reported by a Channel 4 News investigative report in February, work three consecutive shifts deprived of sleep and sometimes food.

And if that contempt for the uniformed force is not egregious enough, Brann has cut off communication with the COBA and ADW/DWA union presidents that represent correction officers and superior officers, respectively.

Cynthia Brann must immediately end this malaise and stop the inhumane working conditions in NYC's Bastilles that debilitate correction officers.


Editor's note: Mr. Bullaro is a former member of the board of the Assistant Deputy Wardens/Deputy Wardens Association.   

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