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Deal Reached In Effort To Curb Violence At Rikers Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Federal prosecutors, attorneys representing injured inmates and city lawyers have reached a deal to curb violence at the troubled Rikers Island jail complex.

Prosecutors said in a letter filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan the federal consent decree will be monitored by an Oklahoma-based correction expert.

The agreement says use-of-force policies will be re-written, thousands of video cameras will be installed and guards will be retrained.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in December joined a class action lawsuit alleging system-wide brutality by guards against inmates. That followed a scathing review by his office of conditions for teenage inmates at the 10-jail complex.

The review found teens were routinely beaten by guards.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to reform Rikers, and released a statement Monday praising the deal.

"We have a moral imperative to ensure every New Yorker in this city's care is treated with decency and respect," the mayor said in the statement. "I appointed (Department of Correction) Commissioner (Joseph) Ponte to bring real change to a correctional system plagued by years of abuse and neglect, and since his tenure he has taken extraordinary steps to reform Rikers Island and end this culture of violence. Today's agreement represents another strong step toward our goal of reversing the decades of abuse on Rikers and building a culture of safety for officers and inmates alike."

City and federal prosecutors had been negotiating for a deal months, and the federal government filed its suit in December to speed up the pace of reforms.

The Rikers complex, in the East River, holds an average of nearly 11,000 inmates a day.

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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