Almost 200 inmates from Rikers Island serving time for parole violations have been released from prison by New York Governor Kathy Hochul. Her reasoning? Reports of chaos and violence inside the prison were "so deeply disturbing" that she released the inmates early.
According to the New York Post, the 6,000 inmate facility has a massive shortage of corrections officers available. There are claims that inmates are not receiving proper care, and gangs are wandering the hallways.
“How does this hell on Earth exist today? This questions who we are as people that we can allow a situation that we’ve seen in Rikers exist in a prosperous, mighty city like New York. The fact that this exists is an indictment on everyone, and I’m going to do what I can.”Governor Kathy Hochul
Another 200 inmates will be shifted from Rikers into state prisons since New York City Correction Commissioner Vincent Scgiraldi stated that they would not be able to implement the reform policies with the current state of Rikers.
As a solution, Schiraldi said they should bring in private guards or officers from the juvenile facilities. Conversely, Assistant Deputy Wardens and Deputy Wardens Association President Joseph Russo are trying to block the privatizing jobs that should go to uniformed corrections officers.
Benny Boscio, Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President, firmly believes that the current state of Rikers is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's fault and that bringing in private guards would be illegal.
Boscio claims de Blasio has attempted "to cover up years of intentional neglect, failing to hire any [correctional officers] and leaving Rikers to rot until it closes.”
He went on to say, "Now he's willing to break the law to help his own reputation before a run for governor."
Most of the released inmates were in Rikers for violating their parole: breaking curfew, being late to check-in, and being caught with alcohol.
Hochul said, "Parole in this state often becomes a ticket back into jail because of technical violations. For example, someone was caught with a drink or using a substance or missing an appointment.”
She said that many of these parolees have served done their time for their original crimes. She pointed out that these convicts were not a danger to society.
Boscio does not agree. He is prepared for crime to shoot up as a result of Hochul's decision.