Security on Rikers Island
Thursday, 23 September 2021
NYC Mayor Pledges
to bring in Private Security
on Rikers Island
Image Credit: The Guardian
"As conditions in the overcrowded jail remain dire, de Blasio said his administration is working on contracting a private firm to take over certain duties for correction officers, some of whom say they are regularly told to work double or triple shifts.
“We’re going to bring in private security,” de Blasio said. “It’s going to provide a lot of relief and a lot of ability for Commissioner Schiraldi to get officers where he needs them most to speed things up in Rikers and improve conditions.”
Benny Boscio, the current president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, said the 2002 measure makes clear the mayor’s proposal is “illegal.”
“The law is written to protect inmates from the barbaric hands of privately run prisons.
De Blasio is putting his own interests above the safety of all those on Rikers Island once again,” said Boscio, whose union has called on the mayor to instead hire more correction officers to address the volatile situation on the island. “This is de Blasio attempting to cover up years of intentional neglect, failing to hire any COs and leaving Rikers to rot until it closes.”
According to sources in the correction officers’ union, de Blasio’s administration has already tried to hire a private security firm for Rikers’ duties.
The contract would’ve tapped Rockland County-based Brosnan Security to handle “exterior and perimeter security” on the island, allowing about 150 correction officers to be reassigned to guard inmates inside of the jail, the sources said.
But the sources said the security firm pulled out after it was approached by COBA reps who told the company the contract would not survive a legal challenge.
A Correction Department official disputed that claim, saying that Brosnan walked away because the contract floated by the administration was “too short-term.”
But on Wednesday, an insider stated that another private security company has been tapped for the job and should be on duty within days.
A perilous mixture of correction department staffing shortages and inmate overcrowding has resulted in jail conditions deteriorating catastrophically.
State legislators who toured Rikers earlier this month said some inmates were being held without access to food, beds or medication for days on end, while the jail’s hallways were littered with human feces, urine and dead cockroaches.
De Blasio has blamed the chaos on hundreds of correction officers calling out sick without proper documentation, and his administration filed a lawsuit against COBA this week, charging that the union is encouraging mass absenteeism.
Inmate overcrowding is an issue de Blasio claims will be addressed by the “Less Is More Act,” a bill signed into law by Gov. Hochul last week that could release hundreds of inmates locked up on minor parole violations.
However, most components of that bill won’t take effect until next year."
STORY ORIGINATED FROM PRIVATE OFFICER NEWS
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Thursday, 01 June 2023