With 'dysfunction, neglect, violence' at Rikers, more officers, private security headed to jail

"Plagued by dysfunction, neglect, and violence" is how Rikers Island has been described by Attorney General Letitia James. She visited Tuesday with a group of city and state officials. 

So far this year, eleven inmates have died while in custody. The NY Post is reporting a twelfth inmate tried hanging himself in front of a group of visiting lawmakers earlier this month. 

During one of those other visits, Rikers was described as a "humanitarian crisis" having no working toilets, unsanitary conditions, and lack of medical assistance for those who need it.

Finding beds for inmates is another issue so the Department of Correction has re-opened a section of the jail that had been closed.  

"Yesterday, new intake spaces were opened at Rikers. Two clinics and an additional housing unit. Everyone must go through intake in less than 24 hours," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

The jail is also dealing with a staffing shortage. 

At one point this summer, more than 3,000 of the jails’ 8,000 guards were either out sick or medically unfit to work with inmates. Now, if jail guards refuse to come to work, the city is suspending them for 30 days without pay. 

The mayor is also reassigning about 100 NYPD officers to work inside courthouses so correction officers, who are currently working in the courts, can work at Rikers.

"We are talking about a force of 35,000. Will use overtime as necessary to help ensure that we can get the most done with minimal impact on other work the NYPD is doing,  said de Blasio. 

The city is also bringing in private security as well to help out. 

AG James is taking a look at what legal options her office has to deal with the situation.