Saturday, December 20, 2014

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The Call Blog: City Moves To Stem Violence At Rikers Island

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The recent attacks at Rikers have been terrifying, and I'm glad the new Correction Department commissioner is taking steps to make City jail facilities safer. I hope that the new administration will do more to help mentally ill inmates, and to keep all facilities safe for both inmates and the officers.

Your thoughts and comments are posted below.

On the same day health care workers rally for safety improvements at Rikers Island, the Department of Correction issues a five-step plan to address a spike in violence in the jail system. Among the changes, the psychiatric clinic will be relocated to a larger area, security staff will be repositioned and increased, and the wardens of each jail will meet with staff to hear their security concerns.

The new training and security measures come as inmate assaults on staff have nearly doubled from this time last year. At a rally today, health care workers on Rikers said the inmates feel they can get away with violence because the jail is understaffed. It's just one of the challenges facing new Commissioner Joseph Ponte. He takes over months after a mentally ill veteran was found dead after being left unattended for hours inside a 101 degree cell.

Will the Department of Correction's new training and security measures make city jails safer? What's your reaction to the rise in violence at Rikers Island? If you work at Rikers, or visited the jail recently, did you feel safe? What questions do you want answered in the death of inmate Jerome Murdough?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Hopefully the new policies will make the jail safer for everyone, the inmates should be checked better for weapons so no one would get hurt. I've never been to Rikers and don't plan on going i do obey the laws of the city

Upper West Side

It seems as though they have the same ongoing problem and that being understaffed with personnel. The way this administration spends our money as though it is going out of style they need to consider hiring more officers only for the safety of both inmates and personnel alike. I guess the new commissioner Joseph Ponte has not started his run yet. What conclusion have they reached in the investigation of the terrible death of inmate Jerome Murdough? Apparently someone wasn’t doing their job and that tragedy happened to that poor man. When will the changes take effect? They should be on the front burner already by now. They will have to rethink the procedures that they will use for current personnel and future ones alike. This is quite a task to take on.


To reduce crime at Rikers, you have to reduce crime outside of Rikers. One very effective way of doing this is by legalizing drugs. As long as drugs are illegal, there will be drug crime just as during the years of Prohibition, there was increased crime associated with liquor. I might add that prohibiting or regulating drugs is a crime in itself. It is a violation of property rights.

Port Richmond

Because it is practically a certainty for Correctional Staff to be faced with internal charges that result in long suspensions; and terminations, as well as being criminally indicted, for physically defending one's self, or others, from imminent assaults by violent inmates, all Correctional Staff have been warned, and conditioned, to avoid physical confrontations at all cost. Until departmental administrators, and other tribunal agencies such as OATH, & State Prosecutors, support correctional staff for the dangerous job they do in protecting others, instead of finding sanctioning fault by demonizing them, violence on Rikers Island will only get much, much worse. Trust me as a Correction Officer who ran for COBA President in 2012, and was also later terminated for protecting himself & others from violent inmates, I know all to well.


As a former investigator for the NYC Dept of Correction, I spent hundreds of hours on Rikers Island investigating crime and corruption, including inmate assaults. It's the "progressives" like mayor DeBlasio who. over the years, have tied the Correction Officers hands and screamed "racism" every time an officer had to subdue an inmate. Officers have been brought up on charges and even arrested. As a result, the inmates are running the asylum. It's similar to the" stop & frisk" controversy.

Upper East Side

Years ago when I was a high school teacher a student sent me a letter asking me to visit him at Riker's. While I am very happy I visited that student, I plan to never visit anyone there again. It was a very unpleasant experience. Very difficult to get there, very difficult to get in, was pat down and felt up, it was freezing because you can't wear any layers at all, long, long waiting time when I was my student's sole visitor, many workers there treated me like I was a criminal when I was there trying to make a difference. The other visitors seemed angry and put out. The most pleasant people I encountered were the inmates.

Upper West Side

Correction Officers do not go to work with the intention of getting into fights with inmates and Inmates are not immediately rearrested when they assault Officers. Perpetrators should not get white glove treatment...they are criminals.

Midtown East

Consider that the law prohibits parents from disciplining their own child, when public schools can not expel students who behave badly, it is obvious that the criminal justice system will have to bare the brunt of this systematic break down. Parents, Schools, Police need more rights and the criminally inclined might have a chance.

Jackson Heights

People need to remember what COs deal with on a day to day basis. The inmates in there act like savages 95% of the time. Just recently a nurse was brutally attacked on Rikers Island, that is living proof of how dangerous inmates are. I have a best friend who is a CO and a brother who has always been in and out of jail so I see both sides but COs deserve a lot more respect than what the city gives them.


Before inmates got to Rikers Island they passed through Juvenile Justice jails Crossroads and Horizon. DOC Civilians as those at ACS detention Center do not have the expertise for safety protocols. Officers as Juvenile Counselors are injured by the mentally ill that go to Rikers Island. As a ACS officer ive been injured and the youth rarely ever are re charged. You start at Juvenile Detention so Rikers can better serve this population. Inmates are allowed to act as animals.


Some of Nyc finast used to refer to C O's as perps with guns. John of Sheepshead Bay says we are lazy ie:central booking hmmmm


Directives are made and should be followed at least when an inmate is taken to the hospital it should be the facility not the inmates to call the family member to let the family member know the inmate was taken to the hospital. For two days an imate did not get medical care for two days. That's not acceptable medical behavior. So the inmates see this and it angers them so there will be vent up animosity. The COs will get the brunt of that treatment. There's a lot more that I can say - I had to gey his medical files due to this and the files I got almost six months later.

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