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NYC Mayor de Blasio ‘criminally negligent’ for harmful Rikers Island circumstances, corrections union boss says

Circumstances for correction officers guarding inmates on New York Metropolis’s infamous Rikers Island have deteriorated so considerably over the previous 12 months – and have allegedly left personnel understaffed, overworked and weak – that it has turn into “not possible” for them to do their jobs, a union official tells Fox Information.

Inmate housing preparations, understaffing of correction officers and lack of assist from metropolis officers have contributed to a harmful work setting for these tasked with defending the detainees and the notorious facility, Correction Officers’ Benevolent Affiliation President Benny Boscio mentioned.


“We’re working 25-plus hours straight, no meal breaks, the circumstances of getting gang members in the identical housing areas – gang affiliated housing – we’re being assaulted with impunity,” Boscio advised Fox Information. 


Fox Information has obtained a number of movies that present inmates’ violent assaults on correction officers, which sources say came about on Rikers Island. The movies present inmates repeatedly punching or kicking officers within the head and physique, and charging them or throwing gadgets of their course, whereas in hallways or different areas throughout the expansive detention middle. 

“Damaged bones, stitches, stabbings – officers are getting stabbed. Twenty six stitches to the face, damaged orbital, damaged noses,” Boscio mentioned, offering some examples of accidents officers have sustained. “We’re being critically assaulted.” 

In the meantime, the variety of inmates being held on violent felony prices has jumped by 23% in roughly the previous 12 months, Boscio confirmed.


Earlier this month, the New York Put up described how Rikers Island inmates are damaging property, answering telephones and gallivanting across the facility amid ongoing understaffing woes which have prompted some areas of the jail to be left unsupervised.

In this March 16, 2011, file photo, a security fence surrounds inmate housing on the Rikers Island correctional facility in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

On this March 16, 2011, file photograph, a safety fence surrounds inmate housing on the Rikers Island correctional facility in New York. (AP Picture/Bebeto Matthews, File)

A spokesperson for the New York Metropolis Division of Correction (DOC) advised Fox Information the company consists of roughly 8,500 whole uniformed personnel. The DOC additionally famous that the division has limitless sick go away, however noticed a 300% soar within the variety of officers who’re skipping out on work with out calling in July 2021 in comparison with July 2020. 

Below Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi, who took workplace in June, the DOC is using new sick go away protocols, hiring 400 extra officers and dealing with a federal monitor to adequately deploy officers to posts, the company mentioned. Different developments embrace the processing of employment candidates; increasing the correction officer examination submitting interval; and assembly with native judges and prosecutors relating to the division’s violent inmates; amongst a number of others. 

In a press release offered to Fox Information by the DOC, Schiraldi mentioned his company was “deeply involved in regards to the security of our employees, medical employees, and incarcerated individuals in our services and are working exhausting to enhance circumstances.”

Signage is seen outside of Rikers Island, a prison facility, where multiple cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Queens, New York City, U.S., March 22, 2020. (REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Signage is seen outdoors of Rikers Island, a jail facility, the place a number of instances of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Queens, New York Metropolis, U.S., March 22, 2020. (REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

“We have now been taking in depth measures to encourage employees to return to work, to alleviate those that have been heroically working further shifts to compensate, and to make this an setting the place any dad or mum would really feel like their very own son or daughter was protected working or dwelling right here,” the assertion continued. 

However Boscio factors blame at New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio, for “turning his again on us,” he mentioned. 

“At this level, I really feel just like the mayor has been criminally negligent,” Boscio mentioned. “He is so wrapped up in his ideology of closing Rikers that he doesn’t even have a solution for the violence that we’re coping with.” 

He later added: “It is not possible for us to do our jobs – defend ourselves being that overworked, to defend different inmates.”

In a June 20, 2014, file photo, the Rikers Island jail complex stands in New York with the Manhattan skyline in the background. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

In a June 20, 2014, file photograph, the Rikers Island jail complicated stands in New York with the Manhattan skyline within the background. (AP Picture/Seth Wenig, File) (AP Picture/Seth Wenig, File)

Boscio mentioned de Blasio, who’s a Democrat, has not visited Rikers Island in “over 4 years.” 

A spokesperson for the mayor’s workplace didn’t reply to Fox Information’ request searching for remark.


After a serious push by de Blasio and different New York Metropolis Democrats, lawmakers voted in October 2019 in favor of a plan to close down Rikers Island and as an alternative construct new detention facilities. However Rikers shouldn’t be anticipated to formally shut till 2026.

Within the meantime, based on Boscio: “It’s like no one cares.”

He added: I really feel like they’ve washed their palms of us.” 


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