On Thursday afternoon, a judge took the first step in handing over the authority of Rikers Island to the federal government, citing the security of the inmates and staff members of the city facilities.
Mayor Eric Adams disagrees with the takeover and claims that things have improved since he took office a year ago.
The troubled Rikers Island detention complex in New York City is “occurring daily” with violence and harm, and efforts to improve it have been “haphazard, tepid, and insubstantial,” a federal monitor testified during the hearing on Thursday.
Steve J. Martin, the monitor, gave testimony while a federal judge deliberated whether the jail should continue to be managed by the city or placed under federal receivership.
The situation is unfortunate and intolerable, according to Judge Laura Taylor Swain.
Rikers has had seven fatalities this year, and assistant monitor Anna Friedberg reported that eight stabbings occurred just last month.
Friedberg stated that we are seriously concerned about whether there are workable solutions to these issues.
In the highest security section at Rikers, where inmates are not permitted visitors, the monitoring team spotted open drug usage that officials did nothing about, according to Friedberg.
“We simply cannot proceed with the way were are going now,” Friedberg said. “The dynamic has to be different.”
The tweet below confirms the news:
Rikers: 6 of 25 Uses of Force on August 3 Found to Be Unnecessary
Six of the 25 uses of force on August 3 were thought to have been preventable.
Friedberg noted that “almost one out of four in that particular day did not need to occur.”
Louis Molina, commissioner of the Department of Correction, asserted that the city is dedicated to “relentless reform” and defended the city’s initiatives to address systemic issues at Rikers, claiming that “indicators of safety have improved” and that force use, employee absenteeism, and stabbings have decreased.
“These metrics are just a few of the reasons why I’m proud of the leadership team I have in place,” Molina said. “We are in fact below trends seen elsewhere.”
Molina requested extra time from the judge, claiming that the department’s work is not finished.
“No receiver will come into the Department of Correction and induce greater reform,” Molina said. “Things are significantly better than the apex of this crisis and that is undeniable.”
Judge Swain issued an order directing the Department of Correction to provide particular documents, permit the federal monitor access to specific meetings, and frequently update the monitor on signs of use of force, security, and violence.
She allowed both sides to submit written reasons regarding receivership until November.
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