CRIPA Investigation of the NYC DOC Jails on Rikers Island, U.S. Department of Justice, August 4, 2014

04 Aug CRIPA Investigation of the NYC DOC Jails on Rikers Island, U.S. Department of Justice, August 4, 2014

The Department of Justice (DOJ) concluded that “there is a pattern and practice of conduct at Rikers that violates the constitutional rights of adolescent inmates. In particular, we find that adolescent inmates at Rikers are not adequately protected from harm, including serious physical harm from the rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by DOC staff. In addition, adolescent inmates are not adequately protected from harm caused by violence inflicted by other inmates, including inmate-on-inmate fights. Indeed, we find a deep-seated culture of violence is pervasive throughout the adolescent facilities at Rikers, and DOC staff routinely utilize force not as a last resort, but as a means to control the adolescent population and punish disorderly and disrespectful behavior. Moreover, DOC relies far too heavily on punitive segregation as a disciplinary measure, placing adolescent inmates – many of whom are mentally ill – in what amounts to solitary confinement at an alarming rate and for excessive periods of time.” (See page 3.) Although the DOJ focused on the adolescent population, it noted that its investigation “suggests that systemic deficiencies identified in this report may exist in equal measure at the other jails on Rikers.” (Id.) In addition, the DOJ identified false reporting by staff and inadequate staff discipline for inappropriate use of force as systemic failings that contribute to excessive and unnecessary use of force by DOC staff. (See page 4.)

Download and Read the entire CRIPA Investigative Report here:  SDNY CRIPA Rikers Report