Brian Fischer was appointed Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services effective January 1, 2007, was confirmed as Commissioner by the state Senate on March 12, 2007, and with the passage of the 2011-12 State Budget, is now Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Commissioner Fischer leads the nation’s fourth-largest state correctional system with 57,069 offenders incarcerated in 67 facilities and is responsible for the community supervision of 37,917 parolees. Combined, there are 31,219 employees, including 1,844 engaged in community supervision activities.
Mr. Fischer began his career with the New York State Narcotic Addiction Control Commission in 1968, working as an Aftercare (Parole) Officer. In 1975, he transferred into the Department of Correctional Services with the title of Assistant Director, Drug Treatment Center.
In 1991 he was appointed Superintendent of the Queensboro Correctional Facility and Supervising Superintendent for the New York City region. He coordinated the development of the agency’s work release program and the conversion of Queensboro into a pre-release, re-entry facility.
Mr. Fischer was appointed Superintendent of the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 2000 and continued to serve as the New York City region's Supervising Superintendent. While at Sing Sing he implemented, along with the Office of Mental Health, a comprehensive transitional pre-release program for inmates with serious mental health needs. In addition, he championed several non-traditional programs, some of which have become models for other prisons: college, theater, and domestic violence and parenting skills for men.
Commissioner Fischer has received recognition by a number of organizations, most recently:
--The Public Service Award from the Community College Fellowship, City University of New York, 2009.
--Warden of the Year Award from the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents for his work at Sing Sing in 2006.
--The New York State Bar Association Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Corrections, 2011.
Mr. Fischer has been an adjunct professor at both Pace University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is also a member of the American Correctional Association, the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents, the New York Corrections and Youth Services Association and, until his appointment as Commissioner, the New York State Association of Correctional Facility Superintendents.
Commissioner Fischer sits on the board of two non-profit organizations: Hudson Link for Higher Education, a program that provides college education degrees to individuals incarcerated in prison, and Puppies Behind Bars, a program that allows inmates to raise puppies that are then trained to be Seeing Eye dogs and, most recently, as special service dogs for disabled veterans.
Commissioner Fischer also sits on the Standards Committee of the American Correctional Association, a national accreditation body that sets performance standards for US prisons and jails.
He is on the Executive Board of the Association of State Correctional Administrators, which is made up of individuals who run state and local prison and jail systems across the country, and a member of the Criminal Justice Advisory Board of St. Thomas Aquinas College. As Commissioner, Mr. Fischer was appointed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman as a member of the NYS Permanent Commission on Sentencing.
Mr. Fischer was born in Brooklyn and has lived most of his life in Rockland County. He has a wife and two grown sons. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling, and a Master’s Degree in Professional Studies.