Federal Government Seeks to Sue New York Department of Corrections over Mistreatment of Youth at Rikers Island
Date:  12-22-2014

New York City mayor tells youth at Rikers solitary confinement for adolescents has ended
Yahoo News reported on December 18, 2014 that the Federal Government wants to join in on a civil lawsuit against the New York Department of Correction over the “excessive” use of force against juveniles at its Rikers Island facility. Yahoo News reported:

“US federal prosecutors moved Thursday to sue New York over rampant mistreatment of 16-to-18-year-old detainees at the city's notorious Rikers Island prison.

The Department of Justice on Thursday sought court permission to join a civil lawsuit which accuses New York's Department of Correction of using excessive force against the youngest inmates.

The intervention follows a two-and-a-half-year investigation which Manhattan attorney Preet Bharara said uncovered "a pervasive and deep-seated culture of violence" at the jail in the East River.”

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Just a day earlier, on December 17, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, toured the locked down Rikers Island youth facility and told a selected group of incarcerated youth that the era of solitary confinement for adolescents was over. But no mention was made about where violent young people will be housed.

According to the New York Observer:

On his first visit to Rikers Island since the Koch era, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the Department of Correction had officially ended the practice of putting adolescent inmates in solitary punitive segregation units, part of a reform agenda he’s rolled out for the city’s troubled jail system. “It was not only our responsibility as leaders to fix these conditions and move forward, it’s our moral responsibility as humans not to create a situation where so many people had to experience so many difficult things—I mean everyone who was part of the reality here,” Mr. de Blasio said inside the chapel of the Robert N. Davoren Complex, alongside Commissioner Joseph Ponte and a cadre of uniformed officers.

The complex where Mr. de Blasio made his remarks was singled out by U.S. Attorney Preet Bhrara in a scathing report that found a “culture of violence” against inmates between the ages of 16 and 18. Inmates under 18 will no longer be subject to punitive segregation—solitary confinement that was previously doled out for up to 90 days per infraction committed by an inmate.

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