Despite de Blasio's promises to reform Rikers Island, inmates continue to perceive violent conditions : report

By LOUIS FLORES

Inmates at Rikers Island continue to complain that they perceive conditions to be violent, according to a news report.

The report, published by The New York Post, alleged that conditions at the Municipal jail complex are perceived to be so bad by inmates that the conditions induce inmates to accept plea agreements to which they would otherwise not consent -- in order to get out of Rikers Island.

Rikers Island is located north of La Guardia Airport in Queens. Inmates continue to complain that they perceive conditions to be violent at the Municipal jail complex. Source : U.S. Geological Survey/Public Domain

Rikers Island is located north of La Guardia Airport in Queens. Inmates continue to complain that they perceive conditions to be violent at the Municipal jail complex. Source : U.S. Geological Survey/Public Domain

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) promised to reform Rikers Island, spending millions on the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and investing an additional $100 million in new spending in the 2017 budget on the New York City Department of Correction, according to a 2016 report published by The New York Times. Mayor de Blasio's plans for reform followed the entry of a Consent Judgment negotiated, in part, by Federal prosecutors from the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The Consent Judgment was the framework of a settlement that capped a civil rights investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office into allegations of Constitutional rights violations at Rikers Island. The Consent Judgment was entered in a class-action, civil lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates to end the use of excessive force on inmates.

It is not known how officials, with oversight of Rikers Island, can compel the City of New York to carry out the promised reforms at the Municipal jail complex. The press offices for each of Mayor de Blasio and U.S. Attorney Bharara did not answer advance questions submitted by Progress Queens for this report. Separately, attorneys for the Plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit did not answer an interview request made by Progress Queens.

Rikers Island has been described as a failed institution by advocates for criminal justice reform, and activists have demonstrated for its closure, according to a report published by DNAinfo New York.

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