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NYC’s DOC head Louis Molina leaving post for new City Hall gig as Rikers federal takeover looms

NYC’s DOC head Louis Molina leaving post for new City Hall gig as Rikers federal takeover looms



Louis Molina, the commissioner of New York City’s troubled jail system, is stepping down for a new position in Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, City Hall announced Tuesday.

Molina, who became head of the Department of Correction when Adams took office in January 2022, was named the new assistant deputy mayor to public safety.

Molina’s tenure as DOC commissioner was overshadowed by the looming threat of a federal takeover due to disturbing, sometimes deadly conditions at Rikers Island and a significant drop in staffing.

City Hall described the move as a promotion, but said it doesn’t come with a raise for Molina who currently makes $243,000 a year. He will report to Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Philip Banks in the new role, as he did at his old job.

During his time overseeing the department, 28 inmates have died in custody at Rikers Island, including one who was found dead this month — the ninth this year.

Earlier this year, Molina tried — and failed — to shelve a scathing report about how the DOC handled five incidents, including the death of an inmate, that took place in the city’s jail system over a six-month period.

Staffing in New York City jails has plummeted by about 25% from two years ago. The Correction Officers Benevolent Association union head claimed the reduced staffing is one of the main reasons the jail system is still struggling.

Louis Molina was named the new assistant deputy mayor to public safety.
Gregory P. Mango
Molina became head of the Department of Correction when Adams took office in January 2022.
N.Y. Post/Chad Rachman

Despite the controversies, Molina said he was proud of the “tremendous success” the DOC had while he was at the helm.

“After the tremendous success we have achieved at the Department of Correction to reduce violence and improve safety, I’m honored Mayor Adams has selected me to take on even greater responsibility for public safety in our city,” Molina said in a statement.  

Adams applauded Molina’s “exceptional leadership and dedication” during his 22 months as DOC commissioner.

“Lou has brought this organization back from the brink of collapse, which is why I am thrilled to promote him to assistant deputy mayor of public safety,” the mayor said.

During Molina’s time overseeing the DOC, 28 inmates have died in custody at Rikers Island.
Gregory P. Mango

Kat Thomson, the DOC’s Chief of Staff, is expected to take over as commissioner, sources said. She previously spent seven years as an FDNY Assistant Commissioner, according to her LinkedIn profile.

The city’s jail system has been under the oversight of a federal monitor for nearly a decade due to allegations of abuse and violence behind bars.

The feds and the city are battling in court over the prospect of a federal takeover of the jails, which Adams strongly opposes.

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