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Antiguan Lynelle Maginley-Liddie, who has served as first deputy commissioner with New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC) since January 2021, has made history by becoming the second Black woman to hold the position of commissioner in the department’s 128-year history.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced her appointment, expressing confidence that Maginley-Liddie is the right person to lead the department going forward, given her decade-long experience at NYCDOC.
Mayor Adams also applauded the progress the department has made in the last 23 months, thanks in part to Maginley-Liddie’s contributions, in reversing decades of mismanagement and neglect at Rikers Island.
He added that public safety and justice are prerequisites to prosperity, and he trusts that under her leadership, the administration will continue to ensure dignity, safety, and care for the staff and detainees in their care.
He further praised Maginley-Liddie as a steady hand who will continue the good work of now-Assistant Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Louis Molina, thanking Molina for his contribution to the department and looking forward to working with him in his new role.
New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix also commended Maginley-Liddie, describing her as a dedicated public servant who is committed to building upon the work the administration has done to effectuate the changes needed at Rikers.
Hinds-Radix added that the Law Department looks forward to working with Commissioner Maginley-Liddie in her new role, given her familiarity with every aspect of DOC’s operations and her superb qualifications to help the city ensure compliance with the consent decree.
Maginley-Liddie expressed gratitude to Adams for appointing her as commissioner and stated that she felt honored to lead and serve both the department and the people of the city.
As commissioner, she promised to work tirelessly to support the staff and create safe and humane conditions for those in their care.
She also pledged to follow and set standards for correctional best practices and acknowledged that the people working and living in their jails deserved nothing less.
During Women’s History Month celebrations in March, Maginley-Liddie spoke to Caribbean Life and mentioned that the Department of Correction has a rich history of promoting women, particularly women of color, to leadership positions.
She highlighted that 43 percent of women in the agency are correction officers, and 57 percent of leadership positions are filled by women. As a woman of color, she recognized the importance of her role not only for herself, but also for the staff who work at the agency.
She hoped that others would learn from her journey and envision themselves in leadership roles.
Maginley-Liddie expressed that she was honored to have the responsibility bestowed upon her and that she took it very seriously.
She valued the opportunity to impact the lives of those who work at the department, as well as the individuals in custody who they serve.
She has served the City of New York since 2015, starting as an agency attorney in the Legal Division and later as deputy general counsel in 2018. She led the department’s General Litigation Unit and provided strategic guidance on complex legal matters.
In August 2020, she was promoted to acting senior deputy commissioner and chief diversity officer, where she had an even bigger impact on the department’s path to reform.
She became only the third woman to assume the role of first deputy commissioner in the department’s 128-year history. Before joining NYCDOC, Maginley-Liddie was an associate at the law firm of Leader Berkon Colao & Silverstein LLP.
She received her juris doctor from Fordham University School of Law while raising a young family.
Maginley-Liddie is licensed to practice in New York and New Jersey and is admitted to the Eastern and Southern District Courts of New York, as well as the United States District Court of New Jersey.
She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in government from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
She was born on the 108-square-mile island of Antigua and attributed her accomplishments and noted career to her faith in God and the support of her family.
She credited her professionalism to the ethos of her life, which is to always be cognizant of the importance of being impartial, fair, empathetic, and humble.
Maginley-Liddie aims to maintain a healthy moral compass, drawing on her Caribbean upbringing in a Christian household, strong family ties, and experiences of living in the diverse melting pot of New York City.
She was taught by her parents to be impartial, just, and approach life and work with compassion.
She strives to be open-minded and reasonable while adhering to the law when making decisions for NYCDOH.
She supports the department’s mission to create a safer and more humane environment for staff and people in custody.
Maginley-Liddie focuses on investing in staff professional growth and well-being and recognizes that the agency’s success is guided by its diverse and dedicated workforce.
During the height of the pandemic, she led the agency’s critical COVID-19 testing and vaccination operation for staff.
She arranged for health and wellness trucks to be stationed on Rikers Island to provide staff with preventative health screenings.
Her dedication to public service motivates her to work tirelessly to support staff and those in the department’s care while pushing forward the mission of criminal justice reform.