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Protest planned ahead of New York City council hearing on conditions on Rikers Island

Protest planned ahead of New York City council hearing on conditions on Rikers Island

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) – Former inmates, families of current inmates and allies are expected to protest the conditions inside Rikers Island.

The protesters call the conditions “inhuman” and “barbaric”.

To address the concerns, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered an emergency plan for the jail Tuesday, just a week after a 7 On Your Side investigation revealed an increase in violence and deteriorating conditions inside the Rikers.

The Emergency Rikers Relief Plan includes the following:
–Adjust court staff by moving the NYPD to help service courts so that some of the Corrections (DOC) departments can switch back to Rikers service
-Strengthen the responsibilities of AWOL employees with 30-day suspensions for correctional officers who do not show up for a post.
–Extend medical evaluation capacity for staff with additional medical providers to evaluate DOC officers on duty
– Engage in emergency contracts to quickly repair broken doors, clean facilities more efficiently, distribute commissioner faster, scan mail for tablets to reduce drugs entering facilities and more
-Speed ​​intake to reduce congestion with a goal of moving people through the intake process of 24 hours or less. Two currently closed clinic rooms will be opened to enable greater capacity

RELATED | Rikers Island officers ‘scared to go back to work’ amid sharp rise

The mayor also called for action across the judicial system in the following areas:

–Enacting the Less is More Act
-Faster transfers from Rikers to state-run locations in five days or less
-Calendar of 500 lawsuits immediately out of the 5,000 people on Rikers Island in preliminary investigation, including over 1,500 people have been detained for over a year
-Encourage judges to use supervised release for non-violent offenders, instead of detention prior to Rikers

The mayor says this will better protect prisoners and officers on Rikers Island.

“We can not continue to have a situation where more and more people are entering the Rikers, but there is no place for them to leave the Rikers, that is how the system has been designed,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We must return to a fully functioning criminal justice system.”

COBA, the union representing the corrections, issued a statement saying in part:

“Mayor de Blasio’s latest ruthless and knee-jerk solution to the crisis he has created over the last eight years only confirms why he is unfit for office and to save the thousands of lives on Rikers Island, he must step down immediately.”

The correctional department commissioner, the Bronx District Attorney and other city officials will testify about the situation inside the Rikers during a virtual hearing starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The city is hiring 600 new officers this fall, but the union says it has lost so many officers due to resignations and retirements over the past few months.

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