Council members tour Horizon after several violent incidents

Several city council members toured the Horizon Juvenile Center Tuesday afternoon after weeks of violence inside the detention facility.

“They made this another Rikers Island,” Councilman Jumaane Williams told PIX11 News.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson explained the purpose of the tour, “we want to make sure the officers and the young people are getting the services they need.”

Inmates ages 16 and 17 from Rikers Island were transferred to Horizon earlier this month after a new state law required minors no longer be treated as adults.

Council members told PIX11 they were livid when they learned the city could have appealed to the state for more time to get Horizon ready, but they chose not to.

Another issue brought up during the tour was the lack of youth counselors at Horizon.

“They are depending on correction officers to play both roles of counselor and enforcement,” Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr said.

The Administration for Children's Services responded in a statement saying "we’ve made a series of changes since youth moved in, and we’re already seeing results. There have been fewer violent incidents and the facility has calmed down considerably since week one. The safety of staff and youth is a top priority and we’ll continue working every day to encourage a secure and rehabilitative environment at Horizon."

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