NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams announced former Westchester County Department of Corrections First Deputy Louis Molina as the first Latino Commissioner of Corrections, Thursday morning at Brooklyn Boro Hall, one day after the death of another Rikers Island detainee.
“We need a Department of Corrections Commissioner who will provide humane conditions to inmates; reduce recidivism rates; support our corrections officers; and reimagine DOC from a revolving-door punitive system to a holistic rehabilitation system,” Adams said. “That person is Louis Molina.”
This is the third appointment, Wednesday Adams announced Keechant Sewell for Police Commissioner of the NYPD. Sewell will make history as the first female to hold the position. Last week, Adams named David Banks Rector of New York City Schools.
“I am humbled to serve as the next Commissioner of the Department Corrections and leading New York City’s boldest,” Molina shared with Black Westchester.
Molina, who will be the highest-ranking Hispanic in city government, said he was “humbled to serve as the next commissioner of the Department of Correction, overseeing New York City’s Boldest.”
“I bring a unique perspective to this role. Not only because of the breadth of my experience, but also because members of my family have been involved in the criminal justice system,” Molina said. “For too long we have managed our public safety approach with slogans and not science,” Molina said after being introduced by Adams at the press event Thursday. (See full press conference in video below).
Molina will succeed Vincent Schiraldi who was named Commissioner, June 1, 2021. Schiraldi took over for Commissioner Cynthia Brann, who announced her resignation on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, on the heels of a federal report that blasted the department for how it has deployed and managed its staffers. Molina will take over the job once Adams is sworn in on Jan. 1 and will oversee the city’s 10 jail facilities, including the troubled Rikers Island complex, which has about 9,000 corrections officers and 5,000 inmates.
Louis Molina is a second-generation, decorated veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps with more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement. He led the the City of Las Vegas Department of Public Safety – since Jan. 11, 2021 – which provides the public with law enforcement and detention services. This department manages the city jail and includes the deputy city marshals (who provide public safety at city parks and facilities) as well as animal control services.
Before that he was the first deputy commissioner for the Westchester County Department of Corrections (WCDOC), the highest-ranking Latino in law enforcement in Westchester County. Having worked in policing, a district attorney’s office and corrections, Molina has operationalized sustainable criminal justice reform practices, leading to major improvement of operations, investment in staff and enhancement of public safety. He has also built strong partnerships with faith-based and community leaders, and nonprofit organizations working with the justice-involved population.
The Westchester County government received push back from local, state, and national Black and Latino organizations for what they feel was a forced departure from Mr. Molina Deputy Commissioner position at the Westchester Dept. of Corrections. While many were sad to see him leave New York, there has been an outpouring of support from leaders in Westchester on Molina’s new appointment and return to NY.
“This is the best news ever,” Sandy Barnabei of the Anti-Racist Alliance of Westchester shared with Black Westchester. “Hopefully Westchester learns a lesson. Listen to Black Lives and leadership. Latimer was told not to let Molina go. He made a mistake; he chose to keep the old guard and that’s what we still have.”
“Louis Molina was super qualified, but he had to get out from Westchester County’s glass ceiling,” Salsa legend Willie Colon shared. “There are still no minorities in a top spot there. It’s George Latimer’s loss. CONGRATULATIONS COMMISSIONER MOLINA!”
“Congratulations to a dear family friend Mr. Louis Molina who was tapped to be the new NYC Commissioner for the Department of Corrections. Westchester County’s loss is NYC’s win and we’re all here for it!!! Felicidades hermano!!! First Latino to have that position!!!!” Latin Reign Radio host and BW Latino Empowerment columnist shared with Black Westchester.
“Congratulations to my brother Louis Molina for his appointment to Commissioner of NYC Department of Corrections,” Damon K. Jones, president of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America (BLEA). “I know this brother will meet the challenge head on and make us all proud.”
“If anyone can do it, he can. Congratulations to our friend and WHLEA member Chief Louis Molina on his appointment to Commissioner of NYC Corrections. We wish you the best of luck,” the Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association (WHLEA Westchester) posted on its Facebook’s page after the announcement.
“Congratulations to Las Vegas Police Department, Chief Louis Molina on his appointment as the new Commissioner of the Department of Correction, becoming the first Hispanic to head the agency. He is the right person to lead the reform needed in Correction. Welcome back to NYC. #BoldestHispanics” the NY Dominican Officers – NYDO shared on Facebook.
“Congratulations to my Brother Louis Molina who served as second Vice President of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, Bronx NY Chapter and was appointed to the position of NYC Corrections Commissioner by our Mayor Elect Eric Adams. I know in my heart you have the exceptional leadership to make changes and bring back the moral to the NYC Department of Corrections. May GOD bless you and keep you and your staff safe.” the National Latino Peace Officers Association (NLPOA) – Bronx Chapter.
“Now more than ever, we desperately need a proven law enforcement leader who understands the gravity of the crisis we’re in and is willing to work in collaboration with us to restore safety, security and sanity to our jails,” Benny Boscio, president of the Corrections Officers Benevolent Association (COBA) shared.
“Screaming CONGRATULATIONS to Luis Molina on his new position as the New York City Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. We are so proud!!” The Hispanic Democrats of Westchester shared.
“He’s back and we’re here for it! Congratulations to the new NYC Department of Correction Commissioner Louis Molina! We know you’re up and ready for the challenges ahead. We’re with you Commissioner!” Brooke Jones president of the Westchester Correction Association shared with Black Westchester.
“Congratulations to Louis Molina on his appointment as the New York City’s Department of Corrections Commissioner,” Westchester Coalition for Police Reform (WCPR) co-founder Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., shared.
“That is great news!” White Plains Councilman Justin Brasch shared. “Louis Molina is a terrific person who will be a great Commissioner.”
Black Westchester congratulates Mayor-Elect Eric Adams for his glass ceiling-shattering appointments, and Louis Molina for making history as the first Latino Commissioner of NYC DOC. We thank you for the reforms you put in place at the Westchester Department of Corrections and eagerly watch and await to see the great things you do as head of the NYC DOC. Black Westchester salutes you Mr. Molina!