To the Editor: A Rikers Island inmate has been charged with attempted murder after the Aug. 27 savage assault of a NYC correction officer who suffered skull and facial fractures.
After hundreds of assaults on jail staff this year, Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi issued a powerless statement saying, "Any assault on our staff is deplorable and absolutely unacceptable. We will work with the Bronx DA to hold the individual responsible accountable".
However, the Correction Department also has a responsibility to hold inmates accountable for crimes committed in custody. Simply saying you're going to work with prosecutors after an inmate tries to murder a correction officer is not enough, particularly since Schiraldi is already obligated to cooperate.
Arresting inmates for committing violent jail crimes is necessary to keep DOC employees safe, but Schiraldi must do more.
Does he thinks that arresting this inmate alone will bring control to the jails? Is he shifting the responsibility to the DA's Office and relying on them to do his job?
I venture to say he does not understand that the DA is just one part of the law-enforcement ecosystem and is not responsible for the care, custody and control of inmates.
Further, the sad reality is that the Bronx DA, who has jurisdiction over Rikers Island, only prosecutes a small percentage of the crimes committed in the jails, and it is very rare that inmates are arrested this quickly after assaulting correction officers.
The Commissioner must do his job by leading and implementing both proactive and reactive strategies to deter, prevent and confront jail crime.
Schiraldi cannot pass the buck.
Retired Assistant Deputy Warden
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