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Mayor De Blasio Unveils Plan To Lessen Violence At Rikers Island Jail

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Rikers Island Thursday to unveil a comprehensive plan to curb jail violence.

De Blasio toured the newly opened 250-bed unit that jail officials call the Department of Correction's most dangerous. There currently are only 17 inmates housed in the highly restrictive unit.

Under the new plan, officials say the "toughest, most violent inmates" will be housed together. Inmates affiliated with gangs will be separated.

Statistics show inmate stabbings and slashings are up this year at Rikers, with six incidents so far this month, 1010 WINS reported.

Mayor De Blasio Unveils Plan To Lessen Violence At Rikers Island Jail

De Blasio said the first step to reducing violence among inmates and against correction officers is to keep weapons, drugs and other contraband off the island, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.

In order to do that, the mayor said, "We need a much stronger, much stricter visitor policy which will limit physical contact between visitors and inmates, and will in fact restrict the right of certain individuals to visit in the first place if they do not pass a security screen."

In some cases, embraces will be banned and visitors and prisoners will be seated at a table with a six to eight inch glass divider at the center to prevent them from passing anything, Lamb reported.

Some gang members will be entirely prohibited from visits because of orders they might send to instigate violence in the jail, Lamb reported.

The city is negotiating a settlement to a class-action lawsuit alleging widespread guard brutality. Federal attorneys have joined that suit.

The use of force by guards has been on the rise since 2006, WCBS 880 reported.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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