NYC’s Failure to Meet Rikers Violence Suit Deadlines Despite $3M Paid to KPMGNovember 13, 2023
The Correction Department hired KPMG on a no-bid “emergency” contract to meet deadlines in fixing violence and use of force in New York City jails, in 2021. Records show, the plan didn’t work as officials hoped. Correction officials have struggled to meet deadlines of their “action plan” to resolve problems at Rikers Island and other lockups, says reports filed in 2023 by the federal monitor in the Nunez class action lawsuit. Problems include poor internal coordination, inability to produce complete information, and failure to manage deadlines and priorities. A significant number of requests for information went unfulfilled despite the deadlines. The monitoring team noted a need for repeated reminders to meet deadlines. The purpose, listed in city records, was “Emergency contract for project management consulting service.” No competitive bidding means a higher cost to taxpayers, and city rules only allow an emergency contract when there is an immediate need that cannot be met through normal procurement methods.
Neither the Correction Department nor KPMG has responded to requests for comment. In 2022, an Oct. 28 court filing mentioned the contract. The “action plan” created in 2022 was the Adams administration’s attempt to avoid federal court receivership, but in October, the monitor concluded that the action plan fell short and conditions in the jails got worse. An outside receiver to oversee the jails is on the horizon, as lawyers for detainees are expected to file motions in favor of receivership.
The Correction Department has a history of hiring consultants. In 2015, the city hired McKinsey consulting for a $5.9 million contract to reduce violence in the jails, but two years later, the contract’s cost had grown to $27 million as staff questioned the drop in violence claimed by the firm.