Hell on Rikers Island — but de Blasio doesn’t care

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Hell has broken loose in city jails on Rikers Island as inmates run wild and guards fear for their lives. It’s another massive fail by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his team down at City Hall.

Though the jail population is at an all-time low, conditions for both correction officers and inmates are worse than ever, with targeting by gang thugs. This month, an inmate attacked a correction officer, stole a set of keys, then freed a fellow gangbanger who joined him in beating and slashing a member of a rival gang in his cell.

Just last week, hundreds of correction officers, captains and other staff protested the terrifying working conditions at Rikers. COVID and low morale have decimated their ranks. Guards are working triple and quadruple shifts.

“It’s worse than at the breaking point”; conditions and morale “are the worst they have ever been in the history of Rikers Island,” Correction Captains’ Association President Pat Ferraiuolo told The Post. “It’s a very dangerous environment.”

De Blasio is on his third Correction commissioner, Vincent Schiraldi. who took over in May. All have been “reformers” who’ve failed to focus on basic safety. The 2018 state Commission on Correction report cited Rikers as plagued by failures in management and regulatory compliance; none of the supposed security enhancements announced in response has reduced incidents. De Blasio seemed to use his vague plans to close the jail as an excuse to not conduct any improvements. But even if Rikers is closed, it will happen long after he’s out of office.

Inmates are taking advantage of overworked jail gaurds.
LightRocket via Getty Images

Yes, the no-bail law means that the relative few still detained at Rikers are overwhelmingly the hardest cases, in for crimes involving guns, gangs, rape and assault. But that’s no excuse to do nothing — and put guards’ and inmates’ lives at risk. Heck, one detainee even filled in an absent guard’s log book with complaints about the lack of order.

If Team de Blasio can’t restore order, Gov. Hochul should step in and assume control of Rikers.

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