NYC Department of Correction
maintained by the
NY Correction History Society
in the archives at the
NYC Correction Academy.
texts from the
July 1988 issue of
Presented here from Pages 1 and 2 of Correction News July 1988 are story texts, photos and captions about the opening of Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island.
Page 1 featured it as the only story with a large photo.
Page 2 featured an architectural drawing of the facility. It illustrated Correction Commissioner Richard J. Koehler's column on the subject.
Page 2 included another photo of Mrs. Singer at the dedication and brief bio notes about her.
Tucked in a corner of Page 2, beneath the masthead, was a "DO YOU KNOW?" column with some interesting facts on the history of women in the department. It was written (and initialed) by then public affairs staffer and now Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Thomas Antenen.
That masthead listed, among others, Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs Ruby Ryles, Dell Omega Grant as editor, Hedvig Chappelle as assistant editor, Spencer A. Burnett as photographer, Roberto Roman as researcher, and James Vann as cartoonist.
Elsewhere in the issue (and unrelated to the facility dedication) appeared a photo and caption on the first Japanese American Correction Officer among new COs sworn-in.
Opens on Rikers Island
A new $100 million state-of-the-art jail for women opened in June on Rikers Island. The jail is named in honor of Rose M. Singer, a women's activist who has served on the Board of Correction since its creation in 1954.
The Rose M. Singer Center features a modern 25-bed nursery and job training programs in horticulture, sewing and culinary arts, for which a restaurant called The Rose Garden was designed and built by the center's staff.
The Center was dedicated at ribbon-cutting ceremonies attended by Mayor Edward I. Koch, the Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward, Mrs. Rose M. Singer and the former Correction Commissioner Jacqueline McMickens. The ceremony was led by Commissioner Richard J. Koehler.
Yellow, blue, mauve and of course rose are unusual colors for a jail. Selected by a.New York City architectural firm Gouchor and Sput, the colors impressed visitors.
"This looks like Great Neck," the mayor said as he spoke before an audience of about 500 people who attended the opening. The mayor then praised Mrs. Singer for her many years of public service.
The Center's main building has 800 beds located in two-tier modular units with 48 individual cells and skylights. The administrative and program areas surround a large outdoor courtyard. The entire perimeter is protected electronically giving inmates day long access to mini yards. A corridor will be constructed to connect the center to four modular units at the eastern end of the old women's house. The center's total capacity will be 1,310.
The Center is an important component of the jail expansion program, which started in 1983 after the city was ordered to release inmates to relieve overcrowding in the jails. Since 1983, the inmate population has increased from 10,000 to nearly 15,500. "The city has added more than 6,560 beds to accommodate this population increase," the mayor said, adding that "the City never wants to be placed in the position of having to release inmates again."
"Keeping ahead of the persistently rapid rise in inmate population is a continuing challenge," Commissioner Koehler said. The Rose M. Singer Center gives the correction system needed relief.
With the cooperation of the New York City Board of Education, private industry and the Horticulture Society of New York, the Rose M. Singer Center provides unusual job training for women. These innovations are expected to improve the environment for the inmates and employees.
Mrs. Singer, a humanitarian who has advanced the concerns of women for over 45 years, said: "I hope that the center will be a place of hope and renewal for all the women who come here."
Rose M. Singer, an original member of the New York City Board of Correction, was appointed by Mayor Robert F Wagner in 1957, the year the Board was created. Even though her term was to expire in 1961, she has continued her work with the Board to the present day.
Mrs. Singer, 90 years old, has volunteered her services to New York City and its residents for the past 45 years. In that time she has worked with five mayors on civic programs. Her particular interests have been women's issues, children and teenage programs. She remains active and holds office in several organizations including the New York City Commission on the Status of Women, the Women's Prison Association and the Citizen's Union of the City of New York.
Mrs. Singer has received numerous awards in her long and distinguished public service career, including the Presidential Award for Exemplary Community Service conferred by President Reagan in 1984. But perhaps the greatest honor has been the naming of a correctional institution for women in her name -- The Rose M. Singer Center.
"I am grateful to my good friends in the Correction Department," she said. "I am humbled, overwhelmed and deeply honored!"
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