The New York City Correction Department’s initiative to address violence and use of force in city jails, including the troubled Rikers Island, through a $3 million emergency contract with KPMG, has not met the intended outcomes, as per recent federal monitoring reports.
The monitors overseeing the Nunez class action lawsuit concerning jail violence have documented ongoing difficulties with the Correction Department meeting its reform deadlines.
The July 5th monitoring report pointed out, “Key problems include poor internal coordination on Nunez matters, inability to produce complete and relevant information, and to properly manage deadlines and priorities.”
Nearly a year after the KPMG contract began, a June 8th report included a critical “Deadlines Ignored” section emphasizing the department’s inability to satisfy information requests and adhere to schedules despite the monitoring team’s insistence.
The report said, “There is a pervasive need for dogged prompting from the Monitoring Team to ensure deadlines are met.”
According to the most recent financial records from the city Comptroller’s office, the NYC Correction Department, led by Commissioner Louis Molina, has paid $2.92 million to KPMG under the emergency contract.
The emergency nature of the contract allowed it to bypass competitive bidding, raising concerns about the cost-effectiveness of such decisions.
Mary Lynne Werlwas, from The Legal Aid Society, has expressed disappointment, stating, “Not only was this an expensive way to get the city to meet its own deadlines, but it was ineffective, as the monitor has repeatedly found the city’s implementation of the action plan was a failure.”
The NYC Correction Department’s engagement with the KPMG contract aimed to address jail violence and improve deadline adherence remains unspoken, mainly in public forums.
This contractual endeavor was only briefly touched upon in a court filing by the Nunez monitor on October 28, 2022, where the monitor recognized KPMG’s role in attempting to coordinate the department’s efforts.
The Adams administration had formulated this “action plan” in the Spring of 2022 as a strategic move to avert the looming possibility of federal court receivership.
However, in October, the monitor determined that the action plan had fallen short and that the jail conditions had deteriorated further.
The Correction Department’s reliance on external consultants has a troubled history.
In 2015, the city engaged McKinsey & Company under a contract worth $5.9 million to develop strategies to mitigate jail violence.
However, within two years, the cost of this contract escalated to $27 million, sparking skepticism among Correction Department personnel regarding McKinsey’s claim of a 70% reduction in jail violence.