June 13, 2023 — The acting commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), Anthony Annucci, has retired. His last day in office was June 9 and his retirement officially begins on August 11. 

Prison Chief Anthony Annucci
Retired Prison Chief Anthony Annucci. Photo source/credit: New York Focus

Annucci began his DOCCS career in 1984 as a deputy counsel. He was appointed acting commissioner by former Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013 but was never formally confirmed by the State Senate. During his 38-year tenure at DOCCS, even before becoming acting commissioner, Annucci helped to implement laws like Shock Incarceration, which allows for a boot camp, military-style obedience regimen that tries to deter offenders from re-entering the incarceration system. He also helped advance Jenna’s Law, which established certain sentences for first time violent felony offenders, and mandated they serve at least 86% of their sentence based on the class of their felony conviction. 

As acting commissioner, Annucci’s administration oversaw a decrease of incarcerated individuals. In 2013, reports showed the New York State incarcerated population was 54,013. Ten years later, the number of incarcerated individuals housed in New York is about 30,500. 

Annucci attributes his decision to retire to a recent medical incident. “While I was cleared medically, this event has caused me to rethink my immediate family,” he wrote in a memo to prison superintendents. 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to oversee the Department for the last 10 years,” Annucci told DOCCS staff in a statement. “I believe that we are the best Corrections and Community Supervision agency in the country, and the men and women who work in our prisons and community supervision offices are truly unsung heroes.” 

As Annucci transitions out of the office, DOCCS Executive Deputy Commissioner Daniel F. Martuscello III will step up to the role until a new commissioner is chosen by Governor Kathy Hochul. 

With the commissioner position open, PEF members who work various jobs in Corrections and parole officers in Community Supervision are hopeful that whomever Hochul nominates will always consider the interests of staff and incarcerated individuals when administering DOCCS, as well as the safety of New Yorkers.  

“Over the last decade, DOCCS has faced many ups and downs, most recently with Less is More parole legislation. We can see that Less is More does not work and is a disservice to our parole officers, victims, and the community,” PEF President Wayne Spence said. “PEF will continue working with the legislature to change the law. We are hopeful the next administration is receptive to that change. We wish Annucci the best in his retirement and look forward to working with the next commissioner on issues important to our DOCCS members.”