Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he is appointing Columbia Justice Lab Co-Director Vincent Schiraldi Commissioner of the city’s Department of Correction. Schiraldi will be taking an eight-month leave from his duties at Columbia University and will serve as commissioner for the remainder of de Blasio’s term.
“Schiraldi is a strategic problem solver who will bring a profound sense of decency to making New York jails smaller, safer, and more humane,” said Justice Lab Co-Director Bruce Western. “With justice as the leading topic of public conversation and New Yorkers calling on public officials to reimagine the justice system as a whole, Schiraldi’s appointment to the Department of Correction is exactly what the city needs.”
Western, who has co-directed the Justice Lab alongside Schiraldi since its founding in 2017, will continue to lead the organization during Schiraldi’s eight-month leave of absence. The Justice Lab consists of 34 staff dedicated to the mission of foundationally reconceiving justice policy through research, community-centered policy development, and engaging diverse constituencies.
“We’re thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has recognized the transformative thinking and research coming out of the Lab and we look forward to continuing our efforts that we hope can replace suffering and punishment with healing and equity,” stated Western.
The Justice Lab at Columbia University seeks to foundationally reconceive justice policy through actionable research, community-centered policy development, and the sustained engagement of diverse constituencies. We envision a community-centered future for justice in which healing and resiliency, rather than punishment and surveillance, are used to solve social problems often rooted in racial and economic inequity.