Friday, June 19, 2015

Deal Is Near on Far-Reaching Reforms at Rikers, Including a Federal Monitor

New York City officials have tentatively agreed to sweeping reforms that would remake Rikers Island, including the appointment of a federal monitor to oversee the jail complex, explicit prohibitions against guards’ striking prisoners in the head and even the introduction of body cameras worn by guards.
Other reforms city officials are poised to endorse include the development of a computerized system to better track the use of force by correction officers, the implementation of an early warning program to flag guards who use force against inmates three or more times in six months, injuring at least one of them, and the installation of 8,000 new surveillance cameras throughout the jail complex.
The measures are part of a far-reaching legal settlement that has been largely agreed upon, after months of negotiation, by lawyers for the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, as well as the Legal Aid Society and a group of private lawyers who in 2011 filed a class-action lawsuit against the city, which Mr. Bharara’s office joined in December, according to people who have been briefed on the talks.

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