Audio tape reveals a chaotic scene as two correction officers grapple to force an inmate out of a stairwell, while guards shout in frustration at a situation threatening to create more chaos. Rikers Island Correction Officers Confront Inmate For Sexual Assault
Rikers Island correction officers claim the recent increase in sexual assaults on inmates is creating a serious crisis within the jail complex. The audio recording obtained by The Hill allows you to hear the chaotic scene on the night in question as correctional officers attempt to force an inmate out of a stairwell before the situation escalates into an even bloodier brawl. One officer can be heard yelling “Well, I just want to get him out.”
“We have a bed bug problem here at Rikers, we have systemic issues at Rikers, but we have been finding, as I get here in the early morning and again when I finish at 7:30, a number of large fights and physical assaults on our staff, most of them stemming from inappropriate contact between prisoners, between inmates and between guards.” Bronx Detective Lt. Guy Palladino told The Hill.
Palladino insisted that his precinct’s violence statistics are on the decline, thanks in part to staffing cuts made by the Department of Correction (DOC).
With DOC resources drastically lessened by years of budget cuts and public outcry over the treatment of prison guards on Rikers Island, Officer Joanna Caraballo explains to The Hill what she’s experiencing on the job. The video below details officer Caraballo’s fight for respect and dignity on the job in the Bronx.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer sent a letter to NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller and NYC Police Commissioner James O’Neill on July 24, calling for an “immediate investigation” into the events that occurred last Wednesday night.
It is unfortunate, but with every detainee coming into the facility, there is a public safety issue. There is definitely a problem in our city, a serious problem, one that, as I’ve been saying for years is as much about command and control as it is about policies.
While the incidents detailed in the letter are not new, it’s the optics and the urgency that Stringer raises that highlight the magnitude of the DOC’s leadership problems. An internal review of the incident is being conducted by the DOC’s Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources, Mathew J. Mazon.
State Sen. Jeffrey Klein addressed the incident in a letter he sent to Commissioner Philip Eure and Vice Mayor Alicia Glen, saying the City Council would be reviewing the DOC’s policy to verify if the policies are being followed to deal with assaults.
If DOC leadership is unable to effectively respond to the increasing numbers of assaults, which has necessitated the actions of the mayor, council and the Comptroller, the city deserves to know why.
Niall Stanage is the Deputy Politics Editor at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter: @niallstanage.