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Federal monitor ‘extremely concerned’ about escalating violence at Rikers Island

A report two years into Mayor Adams’ administration reveals surging incidents of stabbings, slashings amid pervasive, imminent risk of harm at NYC jails


The report says the Correction Department’s efforts to fix the worsening problems are “limited and ineffective.”

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/TNS

By Graham Rayman
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Nearly two years into Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, jail conditions at Rikers Island and elsewhere in New York City are worse, says a new report by a federal monitor tasked with tracking violence in Department of Correction facilities.

Federal monitor Steve Martin and his staff say they are “extremely concerned” about conditions at Rikers Island and other city jails.

“The jails remain dangerous and unsafe, characterized by a pervasive, imminent risk of harm to both people in custody and staff,” their report says.

In recent months, the report says, conditions have “only worsened.” It calls the Correction Department’s efforts to fix the problems “limited and ineffective.”

But Correction Commissioner Louis Molina and his aides continue to blame past administrations for the current situation and attempt to distort the truth rather than addressing the problems that are right in front of them, the report says.

In August and September 2023, there were 91 stabbings and slashings in city jails, a 30% increase from the 69 blade attacks in the same two months in 2022, the report notes. If the current trend holds, there will be more than 400 stabbings and slashings in 2023.

After initially showing improvement, the Robert N. Davoren Center and George R. Vierno Center on Rikers Island are “once again mired in high rates of violence and disorder.” Weapons are “easily available” and contraband drugs are “rampant,” the report says.

And between April 6 and July 31, there were 380 self-harm incidents in the system, nearly one a day.

“High levels of violence and fear among people in custody and staff remain a fact of daily living in every facility,” the report says. “All security and violence indicators remain alarmingly elevated.”

A new high-security unit in the Rose M. Singer converted to house men has the highest use of force rate in the jails this summer and the most stabbings and slashings.


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