James Dzurenda


James Dzurenda began his career in 1987 as an officer in a local jail in Connecticut. He worked his way through the ranks where he served as a Jail Lieutenant and then working in the community on statewide Gang Task Force in Collaboration with Connecticut State Police, FBI, DEA, ATF, State’s Attorney Police Inspectors, and several local law enforcement agencies.

Following his assignment as Lieutenant, he was promoted to Captain and assigned to the Regional Office for Connecticut Department of Corrections (CTDOC) where he was the DOC Liaison for the Office of the Attorney General working on litigation for cases in State and Federal Courts in CT, as well as, 2nd Circuit Court in NYC.

Following his role as Captain, he was promoted to Major and Chief of Security for another local jail in CTDOC where he remained until appointed to Warden at several state prisons and where he consolidated the entire State’s Chronic Mentally Ill population to one Facility, developing programs which were later used as a National model.

Over the next few years, Dzurenda was appointed to District Warden, Deputy Commissioner of Operations, and ultimately Commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Correction. As Commissioner, he managed all custody and operations, which included 18 facilities, 19,000 inmates, 7,000 staff members and more than $350 million in state funding which did not include medical and mental health services. At the same time, Dzurenda also had a dual role as Commissioner of Parole and Community Enforcement which supervised approximately 6,000 offenders on Parole or Community Service.

During his tenure in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy appointed Dzurenda to several legislative commissions which included the State’s Sentencing Commission, Retirement Commission and Criminal Justice Interagency Commission.

Dzurenda retired from state service in August 2014, and he then accepted a new role as First Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Department of Correction overseeing the city jails in each of the Five Burroughs, District Courts and Rikers Island. In New York City he managed 14,000 staff, 9,000 inmates and a $2.75 billion budget.