New York City Program Council

Purpose: The New York City Program Council is a coalition of correctional programming organizations. Co-founded by the Rikers Debate Project, the Council formed to advocate for currently incarcerated individuals and to ensure their programs remain at a high quality level and are being delivered efficiently. Over the years we’ve shared our work with elected officials and drafted legislation pertaining to the program environment in NYC Department of Corrections facilities. All members of the program council represent organizations who are working or have worked delivering programs in Department of Corrections facilities across New York City.


  • To structurally reform the NYC Department of Correction programming environment to make it a positive model for correctional programming nationally.
  • To give program providers and justice-involved New Yorkers agency over programming at the Department of Correction.
  • To streamline and rationalize communication between providers, uniformed, and nonuniformed correctional staff to ensure efficient management of correctional programming.
  • To set, monitor, and make publicly transparent goals and metrics for correctional programming in New York City.


  • Security Training Reform: The Council seeks to redesign the required provider training process
  • to improve content, streamline delivery into one session, reduce the burden of renewal applications, and integrate formerly incarcerated teachers into delivering part of the training.
  • Program Menu: The Council aims to work with DOC to ensure that each person detained in
  • NYC receives a detailed guide to which programs are offered in their facility, when, and how they can sign up to attend. By creating a public record of available programs, this will improve management and transparency.
  • Programming Metrics: The Council will work with DOC on identifying and ensuring the
  • collection and dissemination of appropriate metrics of programming.
  • Programming Model Legislation: The Council aims to pass legislation enshrining its status and
  • authority over programming activities as well as specific measures to enact the projects above.

    Upcoming Events:

    The Program Council is hosting the first public forum featuring all announced candidates for Manhattan DA this Tuesday, July 14 2020. This will be a virtual forum. Sign up to attend here:

    To get involved with the Program Council as an individual or organization, contact us at