The de Blasio administration has done away with solitary confinement for young adults on Rikers Island. Now the Department of Correction could be considering some new punishments for inmates. Our Courtney Gross has the details.
After a spike in violence on Rikers Island, the city's correction commissioner says she needs more tools to make it stop.
"We believe that clearly defining what is a right and what is a privilege and what can we restrict as privilege as meaningful consequences to people who do not follow the rules," said Cynthia Brann, Commissioner of the Correction Department.
Translation: the department is trying to come up with other ways to punish bad behavior.
"Maybe my commissary gets reduced," the commissioner said. "If I continue to infract then something else that's meaningful gets reduced, my visits, more commissary, the inability to go to enhanced rec, how many times do you get to go to the barber shop."
Two months ago the city's correction officers union sent the department a letter suggesting those exact same sanctions.
"The union has been asking for it and writing for it and demanding it forever," said Elias Husamudeen with the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association.
Last year, the union had been at war with the administration. Perhaps that is over.
Earlier this week, the commissioner appeared at its oversight board, claiming solidarity with the city's correction unions.
"I stand here in support of and in unity with my executive team the presidents of the three unions representing uniformed members of service," Commissioner Brann said.
The head of the correction officers union sat right behind her.
Some saw the move and her remarks as an attack against the board by the commissioner.
"When you weaken or remove our ability to appropriately house people and control violent behavior without the operational data to support your decisions you put everyone who walks through our doors at risk," Brann said.
This idea of new sanctions may also need the approval of the Board of Correction.
"We are not opposed to having graduated sanctions for responses," said Dr. Bobby Cohen with the Board of Correction. "We do not support removing visits as a sanction."
The commissioner would not take any of our questions about this on Thursday. She hustled out of City Hall.