Even though the inmate population at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex has fallen to its lowest level in decades, the amount of money spent to run city jails soared to a record $1.1 billion this year, says a city comptroller’s report quoted by the New York Times. Yet there appears to have been little improvement, with assaults by guards and inmate violence drastically worsening. The report found that the amount spent by the Correction Department per inmate in New York was nearly $100,000 in the city's 2014 fiscal year, which ended in June. That is 42 percent higher than seven years ago and more than twice the amount spent per inmate in other large cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
During the same period, there was a 124 percent rise in assaults on staff by inmates at jails, and triple the number of allegations of use of physical force by guards. The number of jail guards dropped to 8,922 in 2014, from 9,203 in 2007. “These numbers show very clearly that what the Correction Department is doing isn't working,” said comptroller Scott Stringer. “We're spending more money on inmates and we're getting worse results. We're talking about an agency that is out of control as it relates to its management and budget priorities. It's a drain on the city and a travesty to taxpayers.”