Former Correction Commissioner Catherine M. Abate
In Memoriam

We mourn her passing and recall some Correction History images & texts during her tenure.
4/20/92 - 3/26/94

Commissioner Abate's "official" photo.


Catherine M. Abate, Esq.

Catherine M. Abate is President and CEO of Community Healthcare Network (CHN), which provides community-based primary care, mental health, and social services to diverse populations in underserved communities. Ms. Abate served as a New York State Senator from 1994-1998. A former chair of the New York State Crime Victims Board and Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Division of Human Rights, Ms. Abate served as New York City Probation Commissioner, and was the City’s Corrections Commissioner from 1992-94. Ms. Abate is a graduate of Vassar College and Boston University Law School.

Correction History site webmaster note: She was appointed to the NYC Board of Correction by the Appellate Division in December 2008 and was one of the most active members on the board, faithfully participating in its meetings despite her health issues in more recent years. She participated in the board's March 2014 meeting by phone due to her illness. She died May 17, 2014 in Bellevue Hospital hospice care from uterine cancer.

Death notice from NYT: ABATE--Catherine Marie, on May 17, 2014. Beloved wife of Ronald Kliegerman. Devoted Mother of Kyle (Lisa) Kliegerman. Loving Sister of Joseph Abate. Fond Stepmother of Kip (Suzanne) Kliegerman. A service will take place at Frank E. Campbell- The Funeral Chapel 1076 Madison Ave (81st), Wednesday 1:15pm. Mass of Christian Burial St. Jean Baptiste Church, East 76th Street and Lexington Ave, Thursday at 9:30am. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Catherine's name to Community Healthcare Network, 60 Madison Ave 5th floor, NY, NY 10010, designated for Holistic Center.

Below are the texts of the Autumn 1992 DOC newsletter Page 10 excerpts from NYC Correction Commissioner Abate's inaugural remarks.


Above from the original digital file of the photo used in the Autumn 1992 Correction News front page showing Mayor Dinkins swearing in Commissioner Abate with her son and husband alongside. Click image to access the
"In looking around this historic room, I am struck by the visions of my past, and of my present ... my chiefs and wardens from the Department of Correction and my former colleagues from Probation, Legal Aid, the State Division of Human Rights, my political colleagues, my Greenwich Village neighbors, and my Crime Victims and Criminal Justice associates. . . .

"I see Correction as having the dual roles of being stern and tough where public safety and law enforctment are concerned, yet supportive and responsive where returning people to a productive role in society is the issue . . . .

"In order to become productive citizens, offenders must believe they have a future to protect and preserve. Proper discharge and after care planning -- linking them to community-based programs upon release -- are critical. . .

"Electronic monitoring, combined with support services, half-way houses, and day treatment centers can be both safety conscious and cost effective -- providing long-term solutions to reducing crime. . . ."

Below is the text of the Autumn 1992 DOC newsletter bio notes on the then recently sworn Commissioner Abate:

115 Leonard to 60 Hudson:
3 blocks and 20 years

From Probation Department offices at 115 Leonard St. to Correction Department offices at 60 Hudson St. is a short walk of about three blocks.


The above scanned image from Page 4 of the Autumn 1992 Correction News issue shows Commissioner Abate presiding as Lacy Johnson, Amy Singer and Anthony Figueroa take deputy commissioner oaths. Click image to access the Correction History site's presentation featuring images and text about her starting team of civilian and uniformed managers which appeared on Pages 4 & 5 that newsletter issue.
In making the move April 20th, Catherine M. Abate went from leading an agency with about 1,550 employees to heading one with about 14,000.

Two Decades' Experience

The Probation Department supervises the conditioned release status of some 77,000 annually. The Correction Department maintains custody of some 115,000 incarcerated annually.

The general field of the 44-year-old attorney's new role remains the same professional area where she has amassed two decades of diversified experience: the criminal justice system.

At the time of her Correction appointment, Ms. Abate served on the Governor's Task Force on Rape and Sexual Assault, the Advisory Board of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), the Advisory Board of Survivors of the Shield, the National Board of the National Organization of Italian-American Women, Board of Advisors of the Coalition of Italo-American Associations, the Board of Executive Women in Human Services and the Advisory Board of the Catholic Inter-Racial Council. She also was a Board Member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York Fund, Inc. and the Association's Committee on Legal Issues Affecting Crime Victims.

The CorrectionHistory.Org's Captains' Quarterly archives Fall, 1992 issue included this image and caption: "At the dedication of the Captain Anthony Robles Training Center (l. to r.): Captain Errol Toulon, ADW Thomas O'Shea, Captain Carmen Reyes, Commissioner Abate, Anthony Robles, and CO Manny Pena." Click image to access text of related story from that CCA Quarterly issue.
Mayor Dinkins Declared

In his March 24 announcement of Ms. Abate's appointment as the 29th Correction Commissioner in the city's history, Mayor David N. Dinkins cited her "broad and intimate knowledge of criminal justice."

A frequent lecturer, panelist and writer in the areas of victim, criminal, human and women's rights law, Ms. Abate's addressing criminal justice issues spans about 20 years.

Prior to her March 7, 1990, appointment as Probation Commissioner, she had served in various law- related positions including chairperson of the New York State Crime Victims Board, executive deputy commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights, and training director of the criminal defense division of the Legal Aid Society.

Community Service

A cum laude Vassar College graduate, Ms. Abate (pronounced A-ba-TAY) received her law degree from Boston University Law School in 1972 and joined Legal Aid as a trial attorney in 1980.

Married to attorney Ronald E. Kliegerman, she has a teenaged son, Kyle. Ms. Abate was elected to three terms as the Democratic Party District Leader in the 61st Assembly District (Greenwich Village) and served as First Vice Chair of the New York County Democratic Committee. As a member of the Board of Directors for the Village Nursing Home, she co-chaired the AIDS Project which established the first comprehensive day treatment center for persons with AIDS in the country.

No Mystery About Lady in Back Row of Mystery Photo #6

There was no mystery about the person standing second from the left in the back row of the Correction History web site's Mystery Photo #6 above. It was among a group of eight photos selected from a score rescued from oblivion by history-minded personnel who thought -- correctly -- that New York Correction History web site would give the orphaned images some TLC and maybe even some IDs. They were salvaged during the move of most of the NYC DOC central office staff from 60 Hudson St., Manhattan, to the Bulova Corporate Center in East Elmhurst the first weekend of June 2009, See main text right for more about the photo.
The following brief description was provided to the web site's readers in its presenting Mystery Photo #6: "Commissioner Catherine Abate and staffers. No identifying words on its back."

The following readers responded:

"OEt123" wrote: Re #6 Left of Commissioner Gene Rupert

"Carol Dewey wrote: Re #6 FRONT ROW (L TO R) Suzanne Veira, Cynthia Brennan, and ? BACK ROW (L TO R) Stan Levy, Gene Rupert, Catherine Abate, John Antonelli, Jeffery Jackson

"Captain John Murphy wrote: Re #6 To the right of the picture Standing next to Commissioner Abbate: now SDC John Antonelli and counselor Jefferey Jackson now assigned to ministerial services. Captain Ruppert stands to the left of the Commissioner.

"Shampelle Everett wrote: Re #6 second right from the commissioner is still with the department, Jeffery Jackson attorney

"Jeffrey G. Jackson wrote: Re #6 Commissioner Abate was presenting those in the picture with certificates of successful completion as Certified Professional Public Buyers. I am on the extreme right of Commissioner Abate, to my left is John Antonelli. (CPPB).