In what the New York Times calls a major shake-up at the New York City Correction Department, three high-ranking officials, including the top uniformed officer, are stepping down amid criticism over the handling of violence and corruption at tjhe Rikers Island jail complex. The chief of department, William Clemons, and deputies Joandrea Davis, the bureau chief of administration, and Gregory McLaughlin, the bureau chief of facility operations, are departing. The surprise departures came five months after they were appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio's correction commissioner, Joseph Ponte.
A department spokesman said the changes were the result of “a restructuring” by Ponte in an effort to halt brutality on the most violent cellblocks. The department has been under intense pressure from lawmakers and federal and city investigators to address systemic brutality and corruption at Rikers, the nation's second-largest jail complex. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, which in August released a damning report detailing abuse of adolescent inmates at Rikers, has threatened to sue the city if changes are not made.