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Charges Demanded Against Rikers Island Correction Officers Who Allegedly Beat Inmates

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Terry Hubbard of Brooklyn says in March of this year, her 22-year-old son was nearly beaten to death by Rikers Island correction officers.

"Sprayed him with mace, stomped him on his legs and punched him in his face," Hubbard said.

As WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported, Hubbard and a small group of parents of alleged victims rallied outside the Bronx District Attorney's office Friday as part of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

The group is demanding charges and indictments be brought against the accused officers.

Charges Demanded Against Rikers Island Correction Officers Who Allegedly Beat Inmates

"The refusal of Bronx DA Robert Johnson to indict and jail these correction officers for these brutal beatings is a crime in itself," Travis Morales said, referencing two alleged beatings of two inmates in 2012.

A spokesman for the DA said they do prosecute 90 percent of correction officer cases they receive, Smith reported.

New York City's juvenile jails are extremely violent and unsafe, the result of a deeply ingrained culture of violence in which guards routinely violate constitutional rights of teenage inmates and subject them to "rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force," the federal government said in a scathing report released Monday.

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In past cases investigated by the Justice Department's civil rights division, federal authorities work with local officials to reform the jails and reserve the right to sue if they feel reforms are not being done.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to reform the nation's second-largest jail system, with an average of 11,500 inmates held at any time. In March, he appointed Joseph Ponte, a longtime corrections official from Maine with a reputation as a reformer.

Prosecutors acknowledged that de Blasio and Ponte inherited many of the problems, which have been pervasive for years despite some small reform-minded undertakings during the final years of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure.

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