A rogues’ gallery of correction officers spends eight hours a day doing next to nothing in a “rubber room” at New York City’s Rikers Island jail, costing taxpayers millions each year, the New York Daily News reports. Some of the most notorious Department of Correction staffers have remained on the payroll as their criminal or internal disciplinary cases drag on for years. All told, 80 officers who have been accused of beating inmates, smuggling drugs into jails, or falsifying records, languish on modified duty, according to city records obtained by the newspaper. One officer has been shelved for six years. All the officers receive their full salary and benefits, while overtime skyrockets to record levels.
The cost to taxpayers is unclear but a conservative estimate based on officer salaries suggests it’s more than $5 million a year. The officers are blocked from interacting with inmates, and have their weapons taken away. More than two dozen spend their days inside a windowless, dingy room near the transportation unit, known as The Pumps because of a gasoline station there. “I sleep all day,” one officer said. “I sleep eight hours. Not because I want to, but that’s the only thing I can do.”