Antiguan creates history, heads NYC Department of Correction

December 19, 2023 in Regional

Attorney Lynelle Maginley-Liddie has created history by becoming the first Caribbean national and second Black woman to assume the role of Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC). in its 128-year history.

Born on the island of Antigua, and a child of a pastor, Maginley-Liddie attributed her accomplishments and career to her faith in God and the support of her family.

In view of her diverse background – Caribbean upbringing in a Christian household, strong family ties and the experiences of living in “the melting pot that is the gorgeous mosaic of New York City” – Maginley-Liddie said she “always aims to abide by a healthy moral compass.”

She said she appreciated the lessons her parents taught her, “to be impartial, be just, and approach life (and work) with a sense of compassion”.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said: “Lynelle Maginley-Liddie has spent the better part of a decade at the Department of Correction, and I am confident that she is the right person to lead the department going forward”.

He said Magingley-Liddle has played “a significant role in the progress we have made over the last 23 months at NYCDOC, supporting this administration’s efforts to reverse decades of mismanagement and neglect on Rikers Island (Correctional Facility in New York)”.

Adams said that she is prepared to take the reins of this department at such a pivotal moment.

“Public safety and justice are the prerequisites to prosperity, and under the leadership of Commissioner Maginley-Liddie, our administration will continue to ensure dignity, safety, and care for the hard-working staff in our correction facilities and all detainees in our care.

“She is a steady hand, who will continue the good work of now-Assistant Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Louis Molina. I thank Lou for everything he did at the Department of Correction and look forward to working with him in this new role.”

New York City Corporation Counsel, Barbadian-born Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, described Maginley-Liddie as “a dedicated public servant who is committed to building upon the work the administration has done to effectuate the changes needed at Rikers.”

She said Maginley-Liddie is “familiar with every aspect of NYCDOC’s operations and superbly qualified to help the city ensure compliance with the consent decree.

“The Law Department looks forward to working with Commissioner Maginley-Liddie in her new role,” Hinds-Radix added.

Maginley-Liddie inn thanking dams for appointing her to the post, said she is honoured “to lead and serve this department and the people of this great city.”

“As Commissioner, I will work tirelessly to support our staff and create safe and humane conditions for those entrusted in our care.  I further pledge to follow and set standards for correctional best practices; the people working and living in our jails deserve nothing less.”

During Women’s History Month celebrations in March, Maginley-Liddie told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the Department of Correction is “an agency that has a rich history of promoting women, particularly women of colour, to leadership positions”.

“Forty-three per cent of women in this agency are correction officers, and 57 per cent of leadership positions are filled by women. As a woman of colour, I recognize the significance of this role-not only for me but more important for the staff who work at this agency. My representation covers a broad spectrum across our workforce.

“My hope is that, when others see me in my role, they learn from my journey to get here. I want them to envision themselves in leadership roles and know that they can attain any position of power within the agency to effect real change.”

Maginley-Liddie has served the City of New York since 2015, when she first joined the department, as an agency attorney in the Legal Division, and, subsequently as deputy general counsel in 2018, where she led the department’s General Litigation Unit.

In August 2020, she was promoted to acting senior deputy commissioner and chief diversity officer.

Prior to joining NYCDOC, Maginley-Liddie was an associate at the New York law firm of Leader Berkon Colao & Silverstein LLP.