Jon Steinmetz

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Getting It Right at Rikers Island

Posted by Jon Steinmetz

Sep 28, 2014 3:00:00 PM

Recently, New York City newspapers published articles raising awareness regarding violent incidents at Rikers Island.   

For those not familiar with New York, Rikers Island is the city’s main jail complex, a 413.17-acre island located in the East River between Queens and the Bronx. If you fly into LaGuardia Airport, you will see the razor wire-surrounded island located only a short swim from the runway. Adult and youth offenders reside on this island dedicated exclusively to incarceration. rikers-525x300

While the news articles bring up significant concerns, the incidents of violence are not new. As one might expect, the occupants are not there because they are model citizens. A wide range of law infractions and violations can earn a trip to Rikers. The constitutionality of sending youth offenders there has been questioned, especially considering that "most

riker_kid

 of whom have not yet been convicted of crime, and about half of whom have been diagnosed with a mental illness," according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.  

Once there, safety is not assured. There are rival gangs looking to start a fight. Forty percent of the population has been diagnosed with mental problems. The staff response to violent inmates has resulted in frequent injuries and sometimes death.

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy, MST, rikers island,, social impact bonds,

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