A general view shows the Rikers Island jail complex in the East River of New York, from Queens, on January 13, 2022.

NEWS: NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ task force to address Rikers Island

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Mayor Eric Adams created a task force Thursday to address the current staffing issues and dangerous conditions at Rikers Island.

“Rikers Island has been mired in dysfunction and plagued by parallel crises for decades. We cannot — and will not — allow that to continue,” Adams said in a statement announcing the new group.

Chaired by Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phillip Banks, the task force will recommend reforms to help make the jail safer for the corrections officers and inmates.

It will meet weekly and will include representatives from DOC, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the New York City Law Department and five other city agencies.

Banks said the group will help fix “dysfunctional government and agencies operating within silos” that have led to “dangerous conditions” inside Rikers.

The move comes less than a month after Manhattan federal prosecutors threatened to request the troubled jail system be taken over by an independent body if it doesn’t fix the staffing issues and violence inside NYC’s lockups.

Four Rikers Island inmates have died so far in 2022.
ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters block traffic along Broadway expressing their anger over the conditions at Rikers Island jail, no arrests occurred.
The Department of Corrections has been criticized for providing little medical care for inmates.
Matthew McDermott

Rikers has been plagued by a staffing shortage that has created a dangerous situation for both officers and inmates.

Last year, the city jail system experienced its most deadly year since 2013 with 16 people dying in custody. So far this year, four inmates have died in custody.

In March, a scathing federal monitor report was issued, the first under Adams, that questioned the leadership of Commissioner Louis Molina and slammed the DOC for ignoring record requests.

Molina lauded the new task force in a statement with Mayor Adams.

Protesters demand women to be taken out of Rikers Island during a rally in front of City Hall on May 6, 2022.
Protesters demand women to be taken out of Rikers Island during a rally in front of City Hall on May 6, 2022.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Curtis Sliwa joins hundreds of correction officers outside Rikers Island to demand better working conditions for officers working in the jail
Mayor Eric Adams’ task force will meet weekly to propose reforms for inmates and correctional officers.
Dennis A. Clark

“This vital support from City Hall finally gives this agency the help it needs to bring safety and security to our jail system and fulfill the requirements of the consent judgment in both spirit and letter,” he said.

“I am looking forward to working with the dedicated and talented partners at our sister agencies. Together, we are going to transform our jail system into model of safety and humanity.”

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