Friday, December 19, 2014

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The Call Blog: Feds Scathing Report Finds "Unnecessary And Excessive Force" At Rikers

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565 reported uses of force. Imagine the number of unreported ones. Sadly, the state of affairs at Rikers isn't news to anyone who's been.

An almost three-year investigation into violence at three Rikers Island juvenile jails found "rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force" by Department of Correction officers. The report by the U.S. Attorney's Office cited 565 reported use of force incidents involving inmates between the ages of 16 and 18 in Fiscal Year 2013. These incidents resulted in 1,057 injuries.

The report also found 845 reported inmate-on-inmate fights involving adolescents. And inmates were taken to get emergency medical services 459 times. Federal investigators sharply criticized DOC staff for inadequate and false reporting of incidents, in addition to inadequate training, supervision, and staff discipline.

The report suggests 70 reforms to the policies at Rikers. In response, the Department of Correction says it will cooperate with the Department of Justice to implement the policies and strategies, in addition to the ones it is already pursuing. What would you do?

Are you surprised to learn of the "rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force" by guards at juvenile jails at Rikers? Have you or has someone you know experienced violence at Rikers? What reforms would you make to change the culture in the jail system? Are you confident Mayor de Blasio's Department of Correction appointees can make a difference?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Hi John,

I'm not surprised to learn about the use of rough and unnecessary force used the the DOC at Rikers, most of the inmates that are there are minorities and most of the guards are white some are racist. The NYPD have racist cops look at what they did to that woman and her daughter they slaped her daughter and dragged the woman out of her apartment with just a towel on and to Mr Garner they killed him, Racism have to stop within the DOC and the NYPD, Mayor Diblasio should hire all races when it comes to hiring the apointees for the DOC and NYPD Comissoner Bratton should be fired ASAP.



I'm not surprised. Rikers has been a hell hole for years. Every abusive guard should spend the rest of their lives in solitary confinement at Rikers.

Port Richmond, SI

Hi John,

I had no idea it was that rampant with the unnecessary use of such force against the inmates between the ages of 16 and 18. Was all of this documented ? If so was it just competely ignored. It was up to the then commissioner in charge to send orders down the chain of command. I have no idea how much experience this newly appointed commissioner has. Once again this new administration have been around for such a long time and yet it always seems like they will take action only after it is brought to their attention. The numbers are mind boggling. The officers will continue to repeat the same treatment towards the inmates as long as no one up the chain of command steps in and puts a halt to it. Evidently it looks as though they aren't getting any briefings before they even start their shift and if they do then they are ignoring it and then like anything else it gets out of hand and sometimes past the point of no return.

This new appointee has his hand full.

Thank you John,

The mayor seems to be letting the Rev. Al Sharpton define the mayor’s agenda. This will not be good in the long run for the mayor.


i am not too surprised, but we are not locked in with the perps. these teens have big mouths and provoke the c.o.s with there attempts to run the jail. thats why they are locked up because they broke the law, and their mouiths get them in more trouble.

herb from harlem

I am not at all sorry for those in the youth jail. Juvenile jails are violent because that is who they are. They might be young but they know they belong there THEY committed a crime There is no rehab for them training does not exist. Most who are there are functional illiterates Not enough staff. Inmates complaining is taken to heart! so stop with all the boo hooo


I'm a nyc correction who has to deal with these guys everyday! It's a hard job! Why does society think that I go to work prepared to assault an inmate? Try getting spat on. Urine thrown on you. Threatened. Remember some officers live in the same areas as some of these people. Yes their are plenty of bad apples amongst our ranks. But for the most part because these detainees know their awaiting trial and not yet sentenced, they feel they can get away with any and everything! They know that once they go to prison it's a different story!

To all these callers siding with the "children" remember this when your phone is stolen. Your purse is taken. You are assaulted on the street. When you are raped, friends or loved ones are murdered by these "children"

I guess these people are right, I work in a beautiful place and all we do is assault these beautiful law abiding children. I apologize for my co workers who only defend themselves!

If society on knew that these same criminals( rapists, murderers, burglars, thieves, perverts, etc.) have more rights than those law abiding citizens, they would see things differently! Some people come to jail just for the free medical, dental, optometry services, etc. I'm not saying assault them. As far as the children and/or adolescent situation, these "children" do murder, rape, rob, burglarize, etc the same people who are calling in saying "there only children".

These investigations are being done by those who don't have to work with the sometimes "ruthless", "disrespectful" and "vicious" criminals day in and day out just to make a decent living for their families.


The entire New York police force is corrupt so does it matter to try and fix one devision while the rest remain to murder menace, threaten and beat citizens or inmates and cover it up unless it is caught on video

Dr. R.

Conditions in the prison system will not change until politician's start being sent to jail.

Kew Gardens, NY

When the us attorney puts on a uniform and walk down the tier of hundreds of inmates or even try to lock them in at nights end. Maybe he may have an idea of what riker's island is about. These are not your Boy Scouts 'it is GANGLAND' everywhere there are bad apples but the majority of CO's are honorable. I will never disrespect my shield. Honor, integrity, professionalism. Always.


Did anyone stop to think that if these inmates did not commit a crime they would not be there? Jail is not suppose to be a vacation in a nice hotel in Bora Bora


As a Correction Officer of over 12 years who was fired for protecting myself from a threatening inmate who was indicted for murder, and had a reputation for viciously assaulting staff, on that day I was told by witnessing supervisors who watched this incident, and were too afraid to assist me, I would have been better off taking a beating, instead of protecting myself from her imminent threat.

These days most correction officers just allow themselves to be physically beaten by these incarcerated crooks, because this past decade defending themselves is a sure fire guarantee of being departmentally & criminally charged. This is the reason why I ran for COBA office in 2012, because I don't think anyone should have to choose between their physical safety, their livelihood, or their freedom.

ExCorrection Officer

What ppl tend forget although these people are labeled inmates, felons, convicts, and etc. Due to they're crimes that they are HUMANS first and foremost. You do have inmates don't follow the rules and you have correctional officers who absolutely abuse they're power to the 10th degree! I went to visit a family member during his stint at Rikers Island Correctional facility and I heard a Correction Officer refer to a group of inmates as mutts and other derogatory names causing the inmates to go into an uproar immediately. With that being said it goes hand and hand. You still have to treat people the way you would want to be treated regardless of ones stature.


As long your a human being, whether your in prison or not, you have rights that should be followed. Not violated, ignored, and abused.


I wish the people would stop characterizing Riker's Island inmates as innocent victims suffering at the hands of abusive correction officers. I worked with court mandated youth from Rikers; these teenagers were extremely dangerous. These juveniles committed crimes. Are criminal rights more important that victims' rights? I commend the Riker's Island Correction Officers for the work they do; being a correction officer is a hard job that few NYers would ever dare attempt. These officers are disrespected and threatened on a daily basis.

In today's society, parents can't discipline their kids, teachers risk their jobs if they even raise their voice to a student and now the government wants to restrict the ability of correction officers to maintain order in one of the country's most dangerous jails! This is ridiculous. Society wants to be soft on crime and in the end the public will pay.

jackson heights

If correction officers can't handle the pressure of their jobs without abusing those they are supposed to be helping to rehabilitate, they should find another job. No one is forcing them to be correction officers.

Michael B
Clinton Hill Brooklyn

I believe that the excessive use of force is not an issue. These kids are in prison for a reason. They do not respect authority or the LAW! that is what put them there to begin with. It stands to reason they are always challenging the law in prison as well. I think the officers need to properly discipline them and I believe that in cases like this force is the only thing many of these adolescents understand and respect.


DOC will always be the way it is. How long ago was it that the officers allowed inmates to "run the units?" That is why this investigation took place to begin with. These findings have been going on for years. New officers get flack for following protocol and are afraid to report behavior that would put a stop to some of this. They stick together knowing their coworkers are exhibiting this behavior as payback for gang behavior that they may otherwise"get away with". Rykers is horrible period. Maybe they can try but I don't see it working out for all involved. At present these children are coming out worse than when they went in. They then return time and time again worse each time. They are fighting for their lives with little help received or accepted.


In response to this topic, serious implemented force used on inmates is sometimes deemed not needed and unconstitutional. The way some prisoners are treated can possibly violate the eighth amendment of the constitution in which cruel and/or unusual punishment cannot be provoked on any U.S citizen. Officials can abuse and violate the amendment guaranteeing this protection. The situation must be investigated further to prevent this from happening to anyone else.


I am 57 years old, and when i was younger i had to give my teachers the same respect i would give my parents. I respected and also fear my teachers. A lot of Children today are not taught about respect and honor. If you smack a child, they know how to say, I will call the police on you. I also believed that if my mother couldn't see me, i knew GOD was watching my every move. I really believe that if these Juveniles had enough respect or fear of their parent, or believe in a God, Trouble wouldn't be so easy. But to give them rights and make it comfortable to be in jail is wrong.. I Don't we want them to LEARN A LESSON? DON'T WE WANT THEM NOT TO WANT TO COME BACK??? DON'T WE WANT THEM SCARED STRAIGHT???f

I really wish there were a waY to separate the child that "made a mistake" or the child that "was in the wrong place at the wrong time" from the ones who just are cold blooded, non fearing, non caring Juveniles.

NOW BACK TO THE MAIN POINT: My sons who go to work everyday and babysit these people, get attacked by these people, had to go to the hospital because an inmate used his own urine & feces to make this fluid to through at the officers, to be told "when i get out of here i will find your family"etc Or had to jump into a riot! My son has a torn muscle, torn A CL, broke his hand at least 5 times . I know that every night i worry about my sons being in Rykers. I strongly believe that if you break the law you rights should be NONE!! .. Obviously you didn't care about the other person RIGHTS that you VIOLATED!

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