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Janison: Rikers Island and the anti-professionals

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Violence and neglect drive the perennial news stories from New York City's Rikers Island jail complex. Conditions have deteriorated. Fingers are pointing — to inmate behavior, officer conduct, and management failures.

Worse trouble is feared every day.

This week City Hall, under the soon-departing Mayor Bill de Blasio, took the unusual step of suing the biggest jail union, the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, alleging that its leaders condoned mass absenteeism over the course of this year — a stunning show of officers abusing unlimited sick time.

Another side of the story, told by reform-minded ex-officers, involves management's failure to take clear, tested, non-abusive steps to exercise control over inmates. Keeping gang members apart, isolating the worst offenders, and preventing the ongoing collapse of the physical plant would help, but such measures are dismissed, corrections veterans say.


© Newsday

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