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As New York prison violence spikes, state sends warning to inmates

ALBANY — The head of the state’s prisons system is threatening inmates with new penalties for assaulting jailers as assaults on corrections officers have doubled in recent times regardless of the variety of individuals behind bars having plummeted greater than 40 %.

“There are some individuals confined within the Department who lately, and without warning or provocation, have chosen to commit extremely serious assaults against staff,” wrote State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci to all incarcerated people on Monday, in a memo obtained by The Post.

“This includes civilian as well as security staff, and female as well as male staff,” he mentioned.

“The trend I am seeing as of late, in terms of sheer savagery of the assault, the randomness of the assault and the lack of any precipitating event before the assault, is extremely disturbing. This will not be tolerated,” he added.

As of Sunday, there have been 1022 assaults on corrections employees to this point this 12 months. That’s double the 524 reported for all of 2012, despite the fact that there’s nonetheless one month left in 2021 — which is outpacing assaults recorded over the earlier two years.

There are roughly 31,400 individuals in state-run services presently, down from the over 54,000 recorded in 2012.

The Rikers Island jail complex
Rikers Island has skilled hovering inmate deaths and correctional officer accidents.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

“Make no mistake about it. The Department will do everything within its power to keep everyone safe from assault, regardless of whether the person is an employee, other incarcerated individual, volunteer, visitor, or contractor,” warned Annucci.

“This in [turn] means holding the guilty party fully accountable in a court of law.”

He added that prisoners slapped with a brand new felony conviction could possibly be sentenced as a persistent offender, which may lead to a brand new sentence of up to life in prison.

But Mike Powers, president of the NYS Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, slammed DOCCS, argued the push by state officers to restrict the usage of solitary confinement brought on the soar in assaults.

“This memo misses the mark in so many ways and is extremely disturbing. To us, it means that the State’s progressive policies have watered down the disciplinary system so much that their only deterrent to keeping inmates from assaulting staff is a sternly worded memo and relying on overtaxed [district attorneys] offices to bring forth charges,” he instructed The Post.

Mike Powers, president of the NYS Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association
Mike Powers, president of the NYS Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, blasted Anthony Annucci’s memo for signaling a weakened “disciplinary system.”
The New York State Senate

The union filed a federal lawsuit in Albany final 12 months in opposition to ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DOCCS over the just lately handed “HALT” Solitary Confinement Act, which limits an officer’s potential to incessantly make the most of solitary confinement as punishment.

A DOCCS spokesperson mentioned the division “needs to run a balanced system where everyone can feel safe.”

“In order to continue to maintain safety, we must have a disciplinary system that affords these incarcerated individuals with meaningful programs to address their poor decisions, while also leveraging criminal prosecution,” the rep added.

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