On top of COVID-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo being recalled, and record flooding, New York City has gone through a tough couple of months. And sadly, it appears to just be getting worse as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that due to staff shortages on Rikers Island, he would be pledging to hire an outside security company to help protect both the inmates and surrounding population. But even as Democrats continue to push a “Defund the Police” narrative, it appears de Blasio might be breaking the law by outsourcing correctional officer jobs.
According to the correctional officers working at Rikers Island, the constant shortages are nothing new. On more than one occasion, the officers admitted that they were regularly told to work double and triple shifts to pick up the slack.
Seeing an opportunity to boost his popularity, de Blasio said, “We’re going to bring in private security. It’s going to provide a lot of relief and a lot of ability for Commissioner Schiraldi to get officers where he needs them most to speed things up in Rikers and improve conditions.”
But while de Blasio sees the privatization of jails as an easy win, his administration will most definitely run into trouble due to a bill signed in 2002 by Governor George Pataki. The bill, which was lobbied by union boss Norman Seabrook, says that guarding inmates can’t be “delegated, transferred or assigned in whole or in part to private persons or entities.”
The current president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, Benny Boscio, stood by the 2002 law, saying de Blasio’s decision is outright “illegal”. “The law is written to protect inmates from the barbaric hands of privately run prisons. De Blasio is putting his own interests above the safety of all those on Rikers Island once again. This is de Blasio attempting to cover up years of intentional neglect, failing to hire any [jailers] and leaving Rikers to rot until it closes.”
Although City Hall is remaining silent on the matter, it should be noted this isn’t the first time de Blasio has tried to outsource correctional officer jobs. The last time, the private company backed out at the last minute due to union reps stepping in and proving, thanks to the 2002 law, that any challenge in court will not last.
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Author: Jeremy Porter
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