Faced with surging violence at New York City’s Rikers Island jail, Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the complex yesterday for the second time in three months to unveil a 14-point plan focused on curtailing inmate fights and stopping the smuggling of drugs and weapons, reports the New York Times. De Blasio described the changes as a product of months of review and spoke in greater detail about the challenges at Rikers than he had at any time in his tenure.
The mayor, who was surrounded by senior uniformed correction officers during an hourlong news conference, made only passing reference to the brutality by guards that has been the focus of news media reports and a federal inquiry. Joseph Ponte, who took over as correction commissioner last April, has said no change can come to Rikers without first bringing violence under control. De Blasio said the new measures were part of a long-term solution that might not yield results immediately. “We are fundamentally dissatisfied with a culture of violence and will not allow it to continue,” de Blasio said, vowing to make Rikers a “national model of what is right again.”