Probe Finds Security Flaws at Rikers Island
- By Matt Holden
- Nov 06, 2014
New York City jail officials are planning to increase the screening of guards and other employees after a city investigation found they were easily able to smuggle vodka, heroin, marijuana and razor blades into Rikers Island in exchange for hundreds of dollars in “courier” fees from inmates.
A report from the Department of Investigation (DOI) revealed guards were routinely allowed to put lunches on top of X-ray machines, rather than through them, and were regularly waved through security after setting off metal detectors.
One investigator posing as a guard was able to smuggle in more than $22,000 worth of contraband – including booze, drugs and a razor blade – in six separate attempts at six different Rikers jails.
“Clearly our investigation indicates this is a real problem,” said DOI Commissioner Mark Peters.
Some of the recommended reforms are already being implemented, such as mandating that supervisors oversee searches at shift changes and requiring that food go through the X-ray machines in clear containers. Peters said that training security staff, hiring more canine units and implementing search protocols up to Transportation Security Administration standards could take up to six months to fully implement.
“It’s true that this report provides hard and detailed evidence of smuggling,” said Peters. “But it also provides DOC a set of reforms that they’ve already started to put in motion.”
Matt Holden is an Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media, Inc. He received his MFA and BA in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He currently writes and edits for Occupational Health & Safety magazine, and Security Today.