NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Rikers Island Investigations Chief Florence Finkle has stepped down amid brutality reports at the jail.
New York City’s juvenile jails are extremely violent and unsafe, the result of a deeply ingrained culture of violence in which guards routinely violate constitutional rights of teenage inmates and subject them to “rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force,” the federal government said in a scathing report released earlier this month.
The report, the result of a 2 and 1/2-year Justice Department investigation into violence at three Rikers Island juvenile jail facilities, recommended major reforms to almost every aspect of how young offenders are treated.
Federal reports called Finkle’s investigation division ineffectual, understaffed and biased in favor of correction officers, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
The same investigation found a pattern of assaults on teenage inmates by guards and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara labeled Rikers a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort.
Finkle’s resignation is the first among an expected wave of departures and changes in an effort to undo what the federal report described as a deep-seated culture of violence.
On Thursday, the New York City Council has passed a bill that would force correction officials to regularly publish information about Rikers Island inmates in solitary confinement.
Earlier this month, a small group of parents of alleged victims beaten by Rikers correction officers rallied outside the Bronx District Attorney’s office as part of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.
The group is demanding charges and indictments be brought against the accused officers.
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