The Albany-based Capitol Confidential reported yesterday that Brian Fischer, commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, will retire at the end of next month. The report continues:
A Brooklyn native who has worked as a parole officer and ran Sing Sing prison, Fischer has held cabinet posts since his 2007 appointment by Eliot Spitzer. He supervised the merger of the Department of Correctional Services with the Division of Parole in 2011.
“Over the years I have seen many changes, including the ironic fact that when I came to the Department the Division of Parole was part of the agency, then it wasn’t, and now it is,” Fischer wrote in a memorandum to staff that was distributed Monday. “Together we have accomplished much, and I know that good things will continue to develop.”
No immediate word from Cuomo aides on who might be named to succeed Fischer.
Brian Fischer’s tenure as commissioner has seen a rising resistance to the widespread use of isolated confinement in New York’s state prisons. According to an article that ran last year in The Nation: “At a forum in January held by the New York State Bar Association…Fischer insisted that some segregation was necessary, but ‘I’ll be the first to admit—we overuse it.’ Even modest reductions, he said, would require that they ‘change the culture’ of corrections, including the stance of the correctional officers union. And, he added, ‘we can’t make changes without funding, without the legislature and the public.’”