MOSCOW (Sputnik) — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to reduce violence at Rikers Island Prison Complex, which has been involved in multiple scandals, including cruel inmate fights, as well as drugs and weapons smuggling.
"We are fundamentally dissatisfied with a culture of violence and will not allow it to continue," the New York Times quoted de Blasio as saying on Thursday, during a news conference on the island.
This was the mayor's second visit to the prison complex in three months.
De Blasio said he was determined to make Rikers a "national model of what is right," unveiling a 14-point plan, which stipulates inmates" fewer contacts with visitors and the installation of a glass partition between prisoners and visitors to prevent contraband smuggling. The new proposals also include different ways of better segregating the most difficult inmates and warring gang members.
The total current number of stabbings and slashings at Rikers for 2015 is higher than the totals in 2007, 2008 and 2009, according to the New York Times, which cites US officials. Over 700 Rikers prisoners have been involved in attacks on other inmates this year.
The New York Times also said that since 2010, 16 correction officers and other Rikers employees have been arrested and charged with contraband smuggling, according to the New York City Department of Investigation data.
Since taking office in the 2013 election, mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to bring Rikers under control by appointing Joseph Ponte as Department of Corrections Commissioner and allocating $26 million for more correction officers as well as $6 million for mental health programs.
In January, Ponte told Sputnik that New York City's jail facilities were in for an overhaul of hiring procedures, after a probe revealed that one-third of New York City correctional officers have links to criminal gangs and mental issues.