Most Inmates Assaulted By Guards At Rikers Are Mentally Ill

July 14, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

Earlier this year, we noted that mentally ill people at Rikers Island would no longer be put in solitary confinement. Today, the New York Times exposed a massive culture of violence at the jail complex, largely directed at the mentally ill. The article details hideous abuses. There were several incidents of multiple guards ganging up against one prisoner — in 80% of these cases the inmate was handcuffed before they were beaten.

The study, which the health department refused to release under the state’s Freedom of Information Law, found that over an 11-month period last year, 129 inmates suffered “serious injuries” — ones beyond the capacity of doctors at the jail’s clinics to treat — in altercations with correction department staff members.

Reporters also determined that 77% of these incidents involved inmates who are mentally ill. Of the 129 cases which were studied for this piece, none of the guards have been prosecuted for their actions, even after refusing to give proper medical care to the victims of the attacks. Mayor De Blasio has promised to institute reforms at the troubled jail complex, but as of now, violent incidents are up by one third from last year. (Photo: @reivax)