Mayor De Blasio Says He Will Visit Rikers Island Next Week Amid Growing Pressure
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Pressure continues for leaders in New York to fix the crisis at Rikers Island.
No major progress has been made this month - that's the conclusion from a federal monitor to oversee the crisis on Rikers Island.
And after mounting pressure from all sides, Mayor Bill de Blasio is now willing to see the problems for himself.
As CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports, after being noncommittal and resistant about visiting Rikers Island, de Blasio is now willing to go next week.
"I think it's time because we've been able to address a number of issues. And I want to see if these solutions are working or whatever other things we have to do," de Blasio said.
This includes reducing processing time for new detainees, which addresses dangerous overcrowding, nearly cutting in half the amount of 24-hour shifts worked by correction officers, and suspending dozens of officers without pay who are AWOL is beginning to address widespread absenteeism.
"He should bring all of his top commissioners and deputy mayors to walk through and say look what failed have produced in our city for decades.," said Democratic mayoral hopeful Eric Adams.
Adams joined a chorus of elected officials saying even more needs to be done.
Friday, before a judge, the federal monitor for Rikers Island was forceful in his criticisms that centered around the lack of supervision of staff leading to security breaches, resulting in increased violence.
There has been a 450% increase in slashings, and a concerning amount of suicides and attempts by inmates without timely intervention from staff.
The judge said a solution "needs to be done now. It needs to be done seriously and results need to be shown."
The federal monitor and city seemingly agreed to the development of a security plan, ordering staff to intervene faster in suicide attempts, and better monitoring of video surveillance. At issue was the monitor's suggestion of bringing in an outside manager, with authority to mandate security changes.
"There is no outside security element that can come in appropriately," de Blasio said.
But after years of deteriorating conditions, many agree the current crisis at Rikers is a matter of life and death.
The federal monitor, city and other inmate attorneys now have to figure out an agreement, and are set to meet again with the judge next week.
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