[M.P. Jacobson]

CUNY Grad Center/John Jay College Professor Michael P. Jacobson addresses NYCHS as its president.

[NYCHS Shield]


NYC Correction Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik addresses NYCHS as its board chairman.

To pursue, preserve & promote
the history

NYS DOCS prison histories author Austin Clarke reads resolution.

[Austin Clarke]

services throughout the City & State
New York.

Organizational meeting secretary Austin Clarke, representing State Correctional Services Commissioner Glenn S. Goord, reads aloud the resolution to establish the New York Correction History Society. Shown seated on dais, lower right, is Tracie Lucas, representing State Commission of Correction chairman Alan Croce.

On the night of major league baseball's 1999 All Star Game (July 13th), an all-star lineup of officials, as well as rank-and-file members, of New York City and State correctional services officially launched the New York Correction History Society (NYCHS) at a formal organizational meeting. The historic gathering took place in the Manhattan Detention Complex, better known as The Tombs, situated at White and Centre streets, a site that has been occupied by a series of jails dating back before the Civil War. 

Probation Commissioner Raul Russi recalls his days as an officer working in the Buffalo correctional system.

Juvenile Justice Commissioner Tino Hernandez spoke about his agency's upcoming 20th anniversary of operations.

Participants included CUNY Graduate Center and John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor Michael P. Jacobson; New York City's Correction Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, Probation Commissioner Raul Russi, Juvenile Justice Commissioner Tino Hernandez, veteran Board of Correction member Barbara Margolis and representatives of New York State's Correctional Services Commissioner Glenn S. Goord and Correction Commission chairman Alan Croce

Also taking part were Correction Captains Association president Peter Meringolo, Teamsters Local 237 secretary-treasurer Nicholas Mancuso, NYC Correction Acting Chief of Dept. Sheila Vaughan; Queensboro State Correctional Facility Superintendent Brian Fischer, Women's Prison Association executive director Ann L. Jacobs, Osborne Association executive director Elizabeth Gaynes, Horticultural Society of New York president Anthony R. Smith, Roosevelt Island Historical Society president Judith A. Berdy and South Forty president John Rakis.

Two authors of correction facility histories -- Thomas McCarthy, with the New York City Department of Correction, and Austin Clarke, with the New York State Department of Correctional Services -- presided at the business portion of the meeting. They served as temporary chairman and temporary secretary, respectively, implementing the parliamentary procedures for adopting resolutions enabling the society to emerge as an official entity. 

The key enabling resolution read, in part:

  • THAT a not-for-profit society be established for the pursuit, preservation and promotion of correctional history throughout . . . New York . . . fostering a sense of professional tradition . . . among men and women . . . in New York correction service; enriching the store of knowledge about their contribution to the commonweal . . . increasing public appreciation of it; and
  • THAT the society . . . shall seek to maintain close working relationships with all correctional services throughout . . . New York, celebrating . . . their diversity and uniqueness . . . their interaction, shared profession and common mission; and
  • THAT the society shall seek to achieve these goals by widely disseminating this history, by serving as a repository and resource for those studying and researching it, by facilitating exchange of information among them, and by creating opportunities for their shared activity; and . . .


  • THAT in furtherance of these ends, we adopt as its name the New York Correction History Society, enact this Constitution . . . and apply to the New York State Regents for its incorporating charter . . . .

One resolution submitted proposed for election as society officers a slate of nominees. Elected were:

  • Members of the Board of Trustees

    State Correctional Services Commissioner Glenn S. Goord, State Correction Commission chairman Alan J. Croce, State Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Katherine N. Lapp.

    NYC Board of Correction members Barbara Margolis and David A. Schulte.

    NYC Probation Commissioner Raul Russi, NYC Juvenile Justice Deputy Commissioner Alfred Reno, NYC Criminal Justice Deputy Coordinator Fredrick Patrick.

    Dr. Thomas Ward of St. John's University, Correction Officers' Benevolent Association president Norman Seabrook, Correction Captains Association president Peter Meringolo.

    From NYC Correction: First Deputy Commissioner Gary Lanigan, Chief of Dept. William J. Fraser, Deputy Commissioner Thomas Antenen, Assistant Commissioner of Personnel Alan Vengersky, and Correction Officer Louis Cash. 

  • Chairman of the Board -- Bernard B. Kerik, NYC Correction Commissioner. Was with NYPD and the federal-NY Drug Enforcement Task Force, Passaic County Jail warden; Army MP and JFK Warfare Center Special Forces trainer.
  • President -- Michael P. Jacobson, on the faculty of CUNY Graduate Center and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Also with the Vera Institute. Was NYC Probation and Correction Commissioner.
  • Vice President -- Gerard O'Gara, NYC Correction Deputy Warden, executive assistant to First Deputy Commissioner Lanigan. Was executive assistant to Commissioner Jacobson.
  • General Secretary -- Thomas Mc Carthy, NYC Correction Editorial/ Communication Services Director. Was Queens DA Communications Director and Public Relations Officers Society president.
  • Treasurer -- Leasa McLeish, NYC Correction Assistant Commissioner Program Management and Development.
  • Curator -- Deborah Kurtz, NYC Correction Deputy Commissioner for Training, Organizational Development and TEAMS. Among other duties, she has charge of the Correction Academy.
  • Counsel -- Joseph Guarino, NYC Correction Deputy General Counsel.

Another resolution authorized the society's officers to begin work on specific activities. These include setting up shared interest groups for members; establishing a web site, newsletter and journal; arranging tours for members to places of interest; soliciting, collecting, storing and cataloging historical materials, and placement of historical markers. 

Go to NYCHS Organizational Meeting -- Part II
(NYCHS scope, membership eligibility, charter petition, additional participants, and sum-up comment by veteran Board of Correction member Barbara Margolis.)

Photo credit: C.O. Ralph E. Smith
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