“Equity” vs. Security at Rikers

The Story

Alarming reports from New York City jails indicate that even as the inmate population declines and the number of guards rises, violence is getting worse, and reaching new depths of savagery. Mayor de Blasio remains determined to close Rikers Island, but the latest spike in violence there has likely been caused by policies that he has enacted prioritizing “equity” over safety — in particular, restricting correction officers’ options in restraining dangerous inmates.   

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Solitary: Restricting the use of “punitive segregation,” or solitary confinement, to those over the age of 21 has corresponded with a rise in inmate violence. Read more.

  2. Tough: Along with police, correction officers have one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement. Read more.

  3. Violence: In 2017, slashings and stabbings increased by more than 25% over the previous year. Inmate-on-inmate incidents were up more than 15%. Read more.

"You take away our tools. You take away the things that have been successful that we've used, that have been successful in keeping violence down in NYC jails."

Elias Husamudeen, head of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Jail Inferno By Heather Mac Donald (Summer 2009)

”Standing in the well of a jail on New York’s Rikers Island as profanities rain down on you from the cells above, you realize the absurdity of academia’s most celebrated book on incarceration.”

And in other news...

”The price of steel used on New York City construction sites has increased dramatically since late 2017 in anticipation of federal tariffs on foreign metals, according to several companies, adding to the already sky-high cost of construction here.”