NEW YORK (PIX11) — A federal judge gave New York City officials three weeks to develop an action plan for Rikers Island to avoid risking a federal takeover of the troubled jail.
In recent years, a staffing crisis on Rikers Island has contributed to deteriorating conditions. Some correction officers have been accused of abusing their unlimited sick time, leaving officers who do show up for work unable to maintain order on the island.
“So what does that look like for our clients? That looks like missed medical appointments, that looks like not being brought to court,” said Stan German, the executive director of New York County Defender Services.
If a federal receiver takes over Rikers, “they are not bound by collective bargaining,” German explained. “Unlimited sick time, that doesn’t apply. Not giving an explanation as to why you’re refusing to not go to a particular jail if you’re ordered to do so, you could lose your job instantaneously.”
The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association has slammed the idea of a federal takeover. The union feels fixing issues at Rikers should be left to correction officers.
“We will go to the mat to protect our members during these continued attacks on our profession,” a COBA spokesperson said.
Mayor Eric Adams is fighting to keep Rikers under city control. A Law Department spokesperson said they’d be working diligently to accomplish goals around fixing the problems at the jail facility.
“We firmly believe that working with the monitoring team and Commissioner Molina, this administration will be able to create a path forward towards resolving the longstanding issues in the city’s jails,” the spokesperson said.