NEW YORK (PIX11) — Mayor Eric Adams, working to block a potential federal takeover of the Rikers Island facility, created an interagency task force targeted at fixing problems at the jail in crisis.

The task force will coordinate between agencies to quickly implement reforms, officials said. It will be chaired by Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phillip Banks

“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. “Since taking office, and working with the monitoring team, we have seen reductions in use of force and assaults on staff, increased searches for weapons and contraband, and fewer officers out on sick leave, but we must go further.

In late April, a judge gave New York City just three weeks to work out a plan to improve Rikers in order to avoid a possible federal takeover. The city needs to file a detailed plan by May 17, which is set to be discussed at a May 24 hearing.

Adams’ announcement follows the fourth inmate custody death of the year. Shortly after Dashawn Carter’s Saturday death, the New York City Board of Correction released a report about previous deaths. They found “longstanding” issues and “persistent problems.” 

United States Attorney Damian Williams has made the case for Rikers to be relinquished to federal control. He cited “unsafe and dangerous conditions” in a letter filed in federal court.

“We remain alarmed by the extraordinary level of violence and disorder at the jails and the ongoing imminent risk of harm that inmates and correction officers face every day,” Williams wrote.