Issues at Rikers: DOC commissioner talks violence, staff shortages, more

Local News

NEW YORK — Deteriorating conditions at Rikers Island are prompting the Department of Correction to take action, but COBA, the union representing nearly 8,000 correction officers, says it’s not nearly enough.

Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi joined the PIX11 Morning News on Thursday to share his thoughts and give some answers on the issues.

This comes as the investigation continues into the death of a 24-year-old Rikers inmate this week, making him the ninth inmate to die at the jail complex this year.

A correction officer found Esias Johnson unresponsive Tuesday morning, Sept. 7. Medical staff pronounced him dead at 9:45 a.m.

 Johnson had been in custody for a month and was being held for menacing and fugitive arrest warrant charges.

“There are things happening here every day that are troubling, that we’re trying to fix,” Schiraldi said bluntly, adding that he agreed with a federal report from August that uncovered serious security lapses and protocol failures.

The commissioner also spoke on the staffing shortages plaguing the complex, and when we could see the 600 new hires actually on the job.

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