Molina departs as NYC correction boss, becomes assistant deputy mayor for public safety

Louis Molina as correction commissioner
Louis Molina, seen in this January 2023 photo, is moving on as correction commissioner and will become the city’s new assistant deputy mayor for public safety.
File photo/Dean Moses

Louis Molina is shifting jobs at the Adams administration, as the Correction Department commissioner is moving on to become the city’s assistant deputy mayor for public safety. 

Mayor Eric Adams announced the shift Tuesday afternoon, noting that Molina will be responsible, in a newly-created administrative role, for assisting Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks in “coordinating with all city agencies on public safety matters to ensure they align with [the mayor’s] vision to keep every New Yorker safe.

Molina had been appointed correction commissioner soon after Mayor Adams took office in January 2022, taking the helm of an agency that has come under fire in recent years for safety and dilapidation issues on Rikers Island, including a recent rash of inmate deaths.

More than two dozen detainees have died on Rikers since Adams became mayor; as of Oct. 9, nine inmates had died there this year alone, according to the New York Times. Months ago, the Correction Department ceased a policy to publicly announce inmate deaths, which drew criticism from criminal justice advocates and city legislators. 

Debate also continues to rage over whether the facility should fall into federal receivership en route to an anticipated closure on or about August 2027, which may now be pushed back depending on a newly-formed commission’s findings.

But in an Oct. 31 statement, Mayor Adams lauded Molina for “helping to reverse decades of mismanagement and neglect” at the Correction Department and “demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication.” 

“Public safety and justice are the prerequisites to prosperity, and that’s why, every day, Louis Molina gets up and ensures we are delivering both those priorities to those in our care,” the mayor said. “Lou has brought this organization back from the brink of collapse, which is why I am thrilled to promote him to assistant deputy mayor of public safety.” 

For his part, incoming Assistant Deputy Mayor Molina said he relished the new position.

“As a New York City Police Department officer, a detective, a United States Marine, a law enforcement chief, and a commissioner, I am immensely proud of the work I have done throughout my career, and I’m eager to take on this next challenge,” he said. “Working together with the leadership of every agency who plays a role in protecting others, we will continue to deliver greater public safety that leads to prosperity for every New Yorker.”

Banks called Molina “a battle-tested and dynamic leader who has proven himself to be an innovator when it comes to law enforcement and public safety.” He said Molina will be able to continue leading “the continued progress being made at the Department of Correction” while also helping to continue actions to that will keep New York “the safest big city in the nation.” 

A new correction commissioner has yet to be named.