AUGUSTA – Maine Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte has accepted a position as New York City’s Department of Correction Commissioner. Commissioner Ponte will remain Maine’s Correction’s Commissioner for now.
The City of New York Office of the Mayor’s press release announcing Commissioner Ponte’s appointment said, “As Commissioner of the Maine DOC, Ponte instituted reforms that reduced the use of solitary confinement by two-thirds, and completely eliminated the use of disciplinary segregation for people identified as mentally ill. He will be charged with overhauling the city’s corrections system: Ending the overuse of solitary confinement, curtailing officers’ use of excessive force, and improving resources to handle the mentally ill.”
In his forty-year corrections career, Joseph Ponte has earned a national reputation as a successful reformer. As the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections since 2011, Ponte has a broad range of experience that offers a unique perspective and deep understanding of corrections system management. Ponte has served as a correctional officer, a warden, and as director and commissioner of numerous corrections systems around the country, and understands the challenges each member of the corrections community faces.
“Every resident of this city deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. From schools to hospitals to prisons, we cannot let our commitment to safety and fair resources falter for a single member of our society. We need to end the culture of excessive solitary confinement and unnecessary force, and bring a new mentality of respect and safety to our wardens, officers and inmates alike,” said incoming Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte.
Neither a new Maine Department of Corrections Commissioner, nor an Acting Department of Corrections Commissioner has been announced.