When it comes to dealing with the hellish horror that is Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t want his know-nothing assumptions challenged.
In response to The Post publishing pics last weekend of the inhumane conditions in the island’s jails, de Blasio claimed that The Post’s reporting about what happened weeks ago “does not reflect what it is now.”
“The whole setup has been changed. More space [has] been created, more personnel,” he said — then went on to blame correction officers’ failure to report for duty for the overcrowding at the Otis Bantum intake center.
The federal monitor overseeing Rikers told the court: “The delay in transferring detainees out of Intake has also resulted in significant delays in providing required medical services.”
New admissions aren’t supposed to stay in intake for more than 24 hours, but at least one inmate was stuck there for 6½ days. Others were recorded held for eight, nine, 10 days.
It took a month after the mayor declared basic services (including food and medical) “compromised” at the jail before his minions even stopped using the OBCC as the primary intake facility. Short-staffed guards wound up squeezing 26 men into single cells where they had no choice but to soil themselves and take turns sleeping on fetid floors.
In 2021’s first 10 months, 14 inmates committed suicide — more than in the two prior years combined. De Blasio has barely mentioned those tragedies.
Correction officers are at risk, too, with one recently beaten by a pair of alleged Bloods members. And the guards’ union says some two dozen Correction Department workers have been sexually assaulted, including 16 female guards and one male, plus a correction captain and six civilian employees.
When The Post’s Julia Marsh asked about these incidents, de Blasio referred to them as “new information about sexual harassment.” Huh? Then he insisted the Bronx DA’s Office and the Correction Department have been “very aggressive” in response, with “already . . . nine arrests in those cases of harassment, more are coming.” Not once did he mention the rapes or express concern for the traumatized officers.
After praising his correction commissioner, de Blasio said, “The ultimate solution is getting off Rikers, period.” As if a shortage of guards wouldn’t be as problematic at the multiple jails he imagines will replace Rikers.
How does he sleep at night?
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