skip to Main Content

Judge slams medical care for inmates in latest sign of Rikers crisis

A recent New York Times investigation also found that many officers who come to work have been assigned jobs that include little contact with inmates. The New York City Correctional Service has the highest staff-to-inmate ratio of any prison system in America, but hundreds of officers worked as secretaries and laundry supervisors, while dozens of living quarters were left unattended, the Times found.

On Tuesday, the monitor presented the federal judge with an action plan drawn up with the city. Improvements won’t be quick, given the level of mismanagement and physical degradation at Rikers, wrote monitor Steve J. Martin.

“The monitoring team does not believe there is ready-made, quick or easy solutions that can improve the polycentric problems facing the agency,” Martin wrote. “The current state of affairs in prisons presents an unprecedented challenge and as such there is no safe path forward.”

Mr Martin’s letter also praised Mr Molina for making progress, noting that he had reduced the number of sick staff from a peak of 2,500 at the end of last year and had suspended nearly 100 employees for abusing sick leave.

The action plan would change the leadership structure of the corrections department and return officers not just to work, but specifically to guard inmates, Martin wrote. It would also create a staffing manager position to ensure the workforce is reliable and available.

Additionally, the plan would create a position for an official who would rank inmates based on their potential for violence and disperse gang members to housing units “to disrupt their concentration of power.”

Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement that the strategy would “aggressively untangle the dysfunction that has plagued the island and set it on a path to real and lasting reform.”

“There’s a much harder job to do, and the city is committed to doing that,” he said.

The federal judge has scheduled a hearing in the case for May 24.

Jonah E. Bromwich contributed report.

Back To Top