NY administration to put $4.5M towards increased security for COs
The move comes days after a CO's spine was fractured by a group of inmates during an attack at Rikers
By Reuven Blau
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Four days after a city correction officer’s spine was fractured by a group of five inmates, the de Blasio administration announced a $4.5 million plan to fund boosted security for officers.
The Department of Correction will add Emergency Services Unit patrol teams to violent facilities, expand the number of Tasers for those officers and others, and assign NYPD gang intelligence officers to city jails, officials said.
“With these high-visibility and comprehensive measures, we send a clear message to the gangs and violent inmates behind the recent attacks against our officers: We aren’t tolerating it,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann.
The announcement comes after correction officer Jean Souffrant's spine was fractured during a brutal attack by five alleged gang members inside a Rikers Island jail. The attack, which was captured on video, was started by an inmate upset he was given a disciplinary ticket by Soffrant.
The inmates involved were all 21 years or younger. That population is no longer put into solitary under a de Blasio initiative launched shortly after he took office.
The union representing jail officers says the inability to isolate inmates who act out has led to a major increase in violence behind bars.
“The mayor will do everything to avoid what really will reduce the violence in jail,” said Elias Husamudeen, president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association. “He’ll buy more stun guns. But the only thing that is going to reduce the violence is punitive segregation and harsher penalties inside the jails.”
On Tuesday, another officer was violently attacked by a Rikers inmate, suffering a badly cut eye. The injury came after the officer was head-butted by the inmate, a photo obtained by the Daily News shows. The fight was started after the inmate tossed milk into the officer's face, Correction Department records show.
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