New York City’s Rikers Island jail reports 40 slashings and stabbings in just the first half of 2012, says the New York Daily News. At that rate, the number would more than double the 35 reported in all of last year. Violent inmate attacks on officers are also on track to far outpace last year's total. Jail insiders blame a nearly 25 percent staffing reduction in the now 30-person gang unit, as well as strict new rules that ban overtime.
The Correction Department cites increased vigilance in reporting attacks after a recent scandal where investigators discovered unreported incidents in which jail officers used force against inmates. Jail officials also blamed the rise in bloody attacks behind bars on a spike in New York City's crime. Serious crime during the first six months of the year — including rape, robbery, felony assaults, and murder — was up about 4% citywide. A recent spate of violence saw 77 people shot in a single week. “The same individuals who are violent in the street and then remanded to jail, bring these very tendencies with them when they are arrested and taken into custody,” Commissioner Dora Schriro said.