Rikers Island facing 'thousands of violations' across the board, per monitor report

Fire safety was frequently mentioned in the report, specifically on the discovery of broken sprinklers and nonworking fire alarms.

News 12 Staff

Jul 6, 2023, 9:27 PM

Updated 372 days ago


A report from a court-appointed monitor released Wednesday took a deep look at the conditions of Rikers Island, citing that there were "thousands of violations distributed across all facilities” from January to April of 2023.  
The report was released by the Office of Compliance Consultants and said that the violations related to building infrastructure, sanitation, and fire safety. 
Fire safety was frequently mentioned throughout the report, specifically on the discovery of broken sprinklers and nonworking fire alarms. Areas without working fire alarms were monitored by the Department of Correction employees, but the report says some of those posts would go unmanned for hours or even days.  
“When you have a failure to provide the adequate infrastructure and you’re relying on a person to be that alarm, you really need to make sure that person is on the post,” said Veronica Vela, supervising attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners' Rights Project. “When you don’t have a person on that post, you really don’t have any fire safety protocol at all.” 
The monitor that conducted these inspections also added that their ability to perform these inspections has become more difficult, claiming that the DOC refuses to provide accurate data in a timely manner or sometimes provide the data at all.  
News 12 reached out to the DOC, which provided the following statement in response:  
“The health and safety of everyone at DOC facilities is a top priority and we are always working with the Monitor to address concerns. We are in the process of updating all our internal polices and standards, developing our own tracking and compliance software to ensure that we are current on compliance items in fire safety, actively repairing fire systems as they are reported broken with our in-house repair teams and through a fire protection vendor, and developing a new program which will be led by our new Fire Safety Director and Fire Response Coordinator.” 

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