On Wednesday, City Council members are slated to question officials from the Department of Corrections about the violence and poor administration that have plagued Rikers Island in recent years.

Rikers Island Corrections Facility

Mayor Carlina Rivera said she and other members of her council’s criminal justice committee, which she chairs, will demand that the Department of Corrections (DOC) explain its appalling performance in the latest scathing report by Steve J. Martin, a federal monitor overseeing the agency’s court-ordered reform initiatives.

“The atrocities as detailed through data and horrific anecdotes confirm what advocates have been telling us for years: the conditions in New York City jails are far beyond the realm of normal and, to quote the monitoring team, ‘defy sound correctional practice,’” the Manhattan Democrat said in a statement.

Correction Dept. Rate of Violence in Rikers Island

Since Mayor Eric Adams assumed office earlier this year, Martin has released a total of 78 pages of reports, the first of which was released last week.

Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.
Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.

The rate of violence in city jails is “seven to eight times higher than those observed in other correctional systems,” according to the report, which blames massive staff shortages and correction officers skipping work.

Following a year in which 16 detainees died in custody — the highest number since 2013 — the city’s jail system is already experiencing a lethal pace this year. According to authorities, a Rikers Island inmate died on Friday, marking the second fatality at the beleaguered city jail system in as many days and the third in the year 2022.

Martin called into question the new leadership of Department of Corrections Commissioner Louis Molina, who took over the department earlier this year.

“The department is trapped in a state of persistent dysfunctionality, where even the first step to improve practice is undercut by the absence of elementary skills and the convolution of basic correctional practices and systems,” Martin noted.

Louis Molina, Pictured Above With Mayor Eric Adams.
Louis Molina, pictured above with Mayor Eric Adams.

According to the monitor, the Department of Corrections hindered Martin’s efforts by refusing to send over personnel statistics and ignoring other demands.

She expressed “appalledness” at the lack of “transparency” displayed by the Department of Corrections in its $1.2 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, and she stated that she will not “tolerate” it. Rivera’s committee is holding a budget hearing on the department’s $1.2 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year on Wednesday.

Martins Speech

During his speech, Martin cited a report by then-Comptroller Scott Stringer, who revealed that the city spent a record $556,539 in fiscal year 2021 to house each detainee, more than treble the amount it spent ten years earlier.

Corrections Facility
“seven to eight times higher than those observed in other correctional systems.”

Mr. Boscio, head of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, slammed the study written by Benny Martin.

According to the union president, the monitor does not have a “fundamental understanding” that the increase in “use of force” occurrences is only due to the fact that correction officers are often breaking up conflicts among detainees.

In a statement, Molina said, “We must do better, and we can do better.” Vague generalities and empty promises. He did not immediately reply to queries regarding the report. In order to address long-standing difficulties, we are pushing forward as quickly as feasible.

Failing

Martin was supposed to keep an eye on the jail, and apparently has been doing a horrid job, as things are still the same there.

Rikers Island Corrections Facility
“seven to eight times higher than those observed in other correctional systems.”

Martin was appointed as a monitor after Manhattan Federal Judge Laura Taylor Swain authorized a landmark settlement in October 2015 in which the city committed to extensive reforms at Rikers Island in order to resolve charges of excessive force by correction officers.

More than $10 million has been earned by him and his team.

seven to eight times higher than those observed in other correctional systems.”

Mayor Carlina Rivera
Mayor Carlina Rivera

Still, nothing changes though, so what is it exactly that he is actually useful for aside from being a talking head, with a multitude of platitudes and excuses?

The union and other critics have questioned whether Martin and his crew are just contributing to the deterioration of conditions in local jails.

Source: NYPost