To the Editor: In one week alone in March, 11 city correction officers were assaulted by inmate gang members. The officers suffered broken ribs, concussions, staples to the head and a broken hand after an officer was hit with a fire extinguisher.
Subsequently, the Office of Public Information again spewed its propaganda, issuing a toothless statement that read, "The safety of those that work in our facilities is always our first priority. Any attack is reprehensible and we are pursuing re-arrest of the individuals involved."
Every year under Mayor Bill de Blasio, inmate violence has drastically increased. Since 2014 there have been thousands of inmate assaults on staff and other inmates, with historic increases occurring in the last four years under Commissioner Cynthia Brann.
In May 2014, pursuant to an inmate assault on an officer, the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information stated that the "Commissioner is determined to reverse this trend and make our facilities safer."
In November 2017, after an inmate called 311 and warned he was going to murder a correction officer, then actually assaulted one, a statement from the DCPI read, "Any inmate who attacks our uniformed force will face consequences including charges and prosecution by the District Attorney's Office."
Incidentally, DOC management never informed uniformed staff of that ominous 311 call before the assault.
In September 2020, Channel 7 News reported a 284-percent increase in serious injury resulting from inmate-on- inmate violence.
DCPI responded, "Safety is our top priority."
At the same time the New York Post reported that serious staff injuries due to inmate assaults jumped 4 percent in 2017, 18 percent in 2018, 7 percent in 2019 and 16 percent in 2020.
In November 2020, after an inmate slashed a Correction Officer and stabbed a Captain, a DCPI spokesperson said, "The safety and well being of our personnel is of utmost importance and we do not tolerate assaults on staff..."
This January, following a brutal inmate assault where an officer was punched in the head several times, DCPI issued this statement, "The safety and well being of our personnel who work tirelessly to keep our facilities safe is of utmost importance and any attacks on them are unacceptable. We are pursuing re-arrest of the individual involved."
I could go on and on with examples of assaults by inmates followed by the same phony concern and deceptive rhetoric by the office of the DCPI.
Under this administration there were thousands of crimes committed by inmates while in DOC custody. Based on my experience, I submit that only about 10 percent of those crimes resulted in an arrest.
Those are pretty good odds for the inmates, especially when you consider that everything is recorded on video- surveillance cameras and the inmate perpetrator literally cannot leave the crime scene.
Ask the thousands of victims of inmate assaults if jail safety is a priority for Bill de Blasio and Cynthia Brann.
Retired Assistant Deputy Warden
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