New York City and federal officials reached a settlement that would install Steve J. Martin, former general counsel to the Texas prison system and a consultant to the Justice Department, as an independent monitor to oversee the Rikers Island jail complex. The settlement, outlined in a letter filed in federal court in Manhattan, comes in response to a civil-rights lawsuit over alleged abuses. A 63-page agreement is expected to be submitted by the city and the U.S. Department of Justice for approval by a federal judge by July 1, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The agreement requires new use-of-force policies in the jail, including the appointment of a so-called use-of-force auditor. It also calls for “improved staff recruitment and selection” and special provisions dedicated to Rikers inmates younger than 19 years old, including more programming and direct supervision. Martin has served as a federal court-appointed monitor of corrections departments in several states, including New York. He served as a monitor at Rikers from 1998 to 2002 after a class-action suit over allegations of abuse at the jail's solitary confinement unit. Separately, the New York Daily News reported that 112 Rikers employees “red-flagged” for integrity issues by city investigators in January remain on the payroll.