Rikers Island: A Continuing “Culture of Violence” Hits Guards and People Locked Up in America’s Largest Jail Complex
Date:  03-17-2015

Incarcerated men help prevent guard from being raped in latest violent episode
Rikers Island is the largest jail complex in the country, with a daily population hovering around 14,000. Reentry Central has posted several article about the violence and conditions of the jails, including an October 10, 2014 article that likened the on-going situation there to an American criminal-justice horror story.

Several recent policy changes have been implemented that create a more humane atmosphere among groups were violence is prevalent. The new policies include better mental health treatment for those who have a mental illness, including not automatically placing those with mental disorders in solitary confinement, and not placing juveniles in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement has been likened to torture by the United Nations and human rights organizations. But, according to at least one person who works at Rikers,, there are adults and juveniles who are so violent that putting them in solitary confinement is the only method that will protect staff members and people in jail who are in the violent individual’s path.

But not placing people in solitary confinement will not stop violent attacks. New Yorl Coty Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte are working on a plan that will hopefully reduce violence through educational programs and separating people who warring gang members from each other.

In the meantime, Rikers Island as seen an uptick in violence over the past month. Jails within the Rikers complex were put on lockdown after several jailed people were injured in violent altercations. People who work at Rikers didn’t fare well either. Men who were confined at Rikers were instrumental in helping to prevent the attempted rape of a guard earlier this month.

Read more about the problems at Rikers Island, and the proposed plans to fix them here.