Mayor De Blasio Appoints Corrections Commissioner and Fills Other Top Criminal Justice Posts

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Joseph Ponte

[City Hall]

Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced four key criminal justice appointments to his administration, continuing to build on his promise to assemble a progressive, effective and diverse government that serves every New Yorker.

The Mayor named Joseph Ponte as Commissioner of the Department of Correction, Ana Bermúdez as Commissioner of the Department of Probation, Elizabeth Glazer as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and Vincent Schiraldi as Senior Advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

“These leaders have the depth of experience and knowledge necessary to reduce recidivism, increase public safety and lower incarceration rates – and I’m confident that under their leadership, we will reform outdated practices and guide these city agencies into a new era,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Together, these appointees will bring about a cohesive, community-focused criminal justice policy for the City of New York.”

In his forty-year corrections career, Joseph Ponte has earned a national reputation as a successful reformer. Currently the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections, Ponte has a broad range of experience that offers a unique perspective and deep understanding of corrections system management. Ponte has served as a correctional officer, a warden, and as director and commissioner of numerous corrections systems around the country, and understands the challenges each member of the corrections community faces. As Commissioner of the Maine DOC, Ponte instituted reforms that reduced the use of solitary confinement by two-thirds, and completely eliminated the use of disciplinary segregation for people identified as mentally ill. He will be charged with overhauling the city’s corrections system: ending the overuse of solitary confinement, curtailing officers’ use of excessive force, and improving resources to handle the mentally ill.

“Every resident of this city deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. From schools to hospitals to prisons, we cannot let our commitment to safety and fair resources falter for a single member of our society. We need to end the culture of excessive solitary confinement and unnecessary force, and bring a new mentality of respect and safety to our wardens, officers and inmates alike,” said incoming Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte.

An accomplished public servant and advocate, Ana Bermúdez brings more than 20 years of experience within the criminal justice system to the Department of Probation. From her early days as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society to her most recent role as Deputy Commissioner for Juvenile Operations of the New York City Department of Probation, Bermúdez has devoted her entire career to preventing recidivism, facilitating re-entry, and designing and implementing restorative justice programs for New York City’s youth. As Commissioner of the Department of Probation, Bermúdez will continue to implement forward-thinking policies that make the community safer by helping individuals turn their lives around.

“The Department of Probation is one of the strongest resources we have to rehabilitate our city’s former offenders and offer them viable opportunities for overcoming their involvement in the justice system. I’ve seen, firsthand, the power that Alternative to Incarceration programs have on our city’s youth, and the difference we can make in a young person’s life when we treat them like people, not criminals,” said incoming Department of Probation Commissioner Ana Bermúdez. “I look forward to applying the Mayor’s progressive vision to the DOP and helping develop new and innovative pathways to support this city’s justice-involved citizens.”

Elizabeth Glazer brings decades of experience in the justice system to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. From her work as chief advisor to Governor Cuomo on criminal justice, to her role as Special Counsel to the New York State Attorney General, Glazer’s progressive approach has led to lasting reform across the city and state. As Director, Glazer will serve as the senior criminal justice policy advisor to the Mayor and First Deputy Mayor, overseeing citywide criminal justice policy and developing and implementing strategies across city agencies and partners to enhance public safety, reduce unnecessary incarceration, and increase fairness. Glazer will also be charged with serving as the Mayor’s representative to the courts, district attorneys, and state criminal justice agencies, among others. The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice will design and deploy strategies with all partners who influence and are touched by crime, including government agencies, non-profits, private and philanthropic organizations and neighborhoods. This affirmative and comprehensive approach will promote the well-being of individuals, families and communities.

“I’m honored to help bring the Mayor’s vision of equality to this city’s justice system, and I’m committed to using every tool available to increase public safety and promote fairness while reducing unnecessary incarceration. By understanding what interventions work and applying them at the right time, those touched by the criminal justice system will be able to return to their neighborhoods and contribute to their success. When every member of our society is treated with dignity and respect, our society becomes more just and more humane,” said incoming Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Glazer.

Vincent Schiraldi has led the New York City Department of Probation for the past four years, overseeing significant programmatic innovation and reforms in the agency. From organizing community resource fairs for probation clients to founding the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Schiraldi has consistently used innovative solutions throughout his career to tackle the unique challenges facing young adults in the criminal justice system. As Senior Advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Schiraldi will build upon his extensive track record to continue supporting young adults. Working with key city agencies and outside partners, he will focus on the unique challenges posed by young adults in the criminal justice system. In addition, he will work with the city Department of Education, the NYPD and other entities to improve school safety and reduce the number of students who get suspended and arrested.

“I’ve been honored to lead the Department of Probation, and I look forward to serving the young adults in this city’s justice system under the new administration. Mayor de Blasio has made it clear that we must value our children’s future if we want this city to succeed – and I’m fully committed to bringing this ethos of dedicated support for our youth to this city’s criminal and juvenile justice system,” said incoming Senior Advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Schiraldi.

About Joseph Ponte: A native of Massachusetts, Joseph Ponte has more than 40 years of experience working in the corrections field. During his distinguished career in corrections, Ponte has served as a correctional officer, a warden, and as director and commissioner of corrections systems.

Ponte comes to New York City from Maine, where, since 2011, he served as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections. As Commissioner of the Maine DOC, Ponte has instituted reforms that reduced the use of solitary confinement by two-thirds and reduced both officers’ use of force and the number of violent incidents. Ponte has also served as Director of the jail in Shelby County, Tennessee (which includes Memphis), where he led one of the largest jails in the country – helping transform the violence-prone jail while supporting its staff  – and eventually led the jail successfully through accreditation by the American Correctional Association. Additionally, Ponte has served as a warden in jails and prisons in Nevada, Florida, Tennessee, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Ponte, a Marine Corps veteran (1965-1969), holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Bridgewater State College.

About Ana Bermúdez: Born in Puerto Rico, Ana Bermúdez is an accomplished public servant and advocate with more than 20 years of experience working within the criminal justice system. Since 2010, she has been the Deputy Commissioner for Juvenile Operations of the New York City Department of Probation, where she oversees a staff of 300. From 2007 to 2010, she was Director of Juvenile Justice Programs at Children’s Aid Society. Previously, Bermúdez spent a decade at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services, where she served as the Director of Community Prep High School.

Bermúdez currently serves on the Office of Children and Family Services Advisory Board, the Juvenile Justice Coalition, and the Subcommittee on Disconnected Youth of the New York State Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board.

A long-time Brooklyn resident, Bermúdez served on the District 15 School Board with Mayor de Blasio. She began her legal career as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society, where she worked from 1992 to 1997. She received her J.D. from Yale University Law School and her B.A. from Brown University.

About Elizabeth Glazer: Most recently, Glazer served as chief advisor to Governor Cuomo on criminal justice and homeland security policy as Deputy Secretary for Public Safety. In that capacity, Glazer was responsible for the oversight and management of eight state agencies, including Corrections, Parole, State Police and National Guard, with a combined budget of $3.3 billion and 40,000 employees.

Prior to her role as chief advisor, Glazer served as Chair of the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, where she led an overhaul of the Board’s membership and function. Previously, Glazer worked as Special Counsel to the New York State Attorney General amd Director at the Center for Court Innovation, and has held variety of leadership positions in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and at the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice and the New York City Department of Investigation.

Glazer received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard University, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Freiburg in Germany, and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was Editor of the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then a United States Court of Appeals Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit.

About Vincent Schiraldi: Vincent Schiraldi has led the New York City Department of Probation for the past four years. Prior to serving as Commissioner of DOP, Schiraldi ran Washington, D.C.’s newly-created Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, where he directed all facets of the city’s juvenile and delinquent youth agency. Prior to that, Schiraldi founded and ran, as Executive Director, two separate progressive organizations – the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, a nonprofit Schiraldi directed for 11 years, and the Justice Policy Institute, a nationally-recognized think tank that works collaboratively on criminal and juvenile justice issues with a variety of state governments.

Prior to founding and running those organizations, Schiraldi was the Western Regional Director for the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA). He previously worked for NCIA in New York City. Schiraldi also worked for the New York State Division for Youth and, in San Francisco, for the Human Services Agency.

Schiraldi earned his Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University and his Masters in Social Work from New York University. 

 

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