Rikers Island

Anthony Behar/Sipa Press

Comptroller’s report finds costs, assaults on the rise at Rikers Island

January 22, 2019 - 10:49 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Fewer inmates and skyrocketing costs, that's what Comptroller Scott Stringer says about Rikers Island.

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A new report from his office looking at the 2018 fiscal year found that despite a 37-year low in the number of inmates, the cost per inmate was $300,000 for a yearly budget of $1.39 billion.

“Everything is going up,” says Stringer. “I don’t think I have ever seen an agency like this in my years as Comptroller. The mismanagement and failure of accountability continues to haunt this agency.”

Stringer says those are taxpayer dollars that could be used to help other agencies.

“We should be looking at how to reduce costs here,” says Stringer. “The more we save, the more we redirect to people who need it the most. That is responsible government.”

It also notes a rise in violence at the jail.

Fights and assaults jumped by 2 percent from 2017, and assaults on correction officers increased by almost 10 percent, the report found.

“Prior to 2014, we were able to keep the violence down,” says Correction Officer's Benevolent Association, President Elias Husamudeen. “That was in the day when punitive segregation was for everyone.”

The report did show that assault numbers were lower prior to 2014.