A former top Nevada prison official who was forced to resign there following a high-profile escape and other controversies was named to a top post in the city Department of Correction Tuesday, officials said.
Charles Daniels’ resume includes a previous stint in the city Correction Department. He was one of three top department officials who settled in 2019 for a total of $275,000 in a lawsuit that alleged there was a promotional “glass ceiling” within the agency.
Correction Commissioner Louis Molina named Daniels senior deputy commissioner. He will serve as Molina’s top policy adviser and oversee security, detainee classification, and other bureaus.
Daniels succeeds Joseph Dempsey in the post. Dempsey resigned suddenly in February, just three months into his tenure after a correction officer alleged Dempsey sent his a sexually explicit text message.
Daniels most recently was director of the Nevada Department of Correction, where he ran the agency’s day to day operations.
Daniels resigned under pressure from the Nevada correction agency in 2022 following the high-profile escape of an inmate, a September 2022 article in the Nevada Current reported. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak called for his resignation.
Daniels was accused of trying to hide the escape of the inmate, Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, who slipped out of prison days before the agency disclosed it had happened, the Current reported.
“The situation with the escaped inmate is a serious and unacceptable breach of protocol,” Sisolak said according to the Current. “This is unacceptable.”
Daniels, the Current reported, was also accused of a lack of transparency and being slow to respond to information requests, even from elected officials. The Molina administration here has been accused of similar conduct.
Molina was a top public safety official in Las Vegas before be became Mayor Adams’ Correction commissioner in 2022.
Though Molina’s press release touted Daniels record in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, critics in Nevada noted that the state prisons there had the third-highest rate of COVID deaths in the country.
Prior to that, he served as deputy commissioner for operations at the Alabama Department of Correction.
“I look forward to working with Commissioner Molina and the proud men and women of the New York City Department of Correction,” Daniels said. “Improving public, staff and detainee safety are paramount as we prepare individuals for their eventual release back into society.”
Molina also appointed Patrick Benn to deputy commissioner overseeing construction and facilities, Visalaskshi Srinivasan as deputy commissioner for budget and purchasing, and Simone Smith as chief contracts officer.
“Their expertise in the fields of law enforcement, operations, and finance will be essential as we continue to improve conditions within our jails for those in our care and the Bold members who serve,” Molina said.
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