City council investigates inmate violence

November 17, 2011 3:26:14 PM PST
The New York City Council is investigating claims of more than 900 inmates with violent offenses not being punished with punitive segregation.

Correction Officer James La suffered a vicious punch in the jaw from an inmate on Rikers Island who should have been punished and isolated for a previous incident.

Officer Rodney Brown's thumb was bitten off by a jail inmate, and there is video of an inmate assaulting yet another officer with a broomstick in September.

Those inmates were all supposed to be separated, not in general population, it's known as owing time in the box.

Eyewitness News' continuing investigation revealed that victims also include other inmates.

Steven Davis was jumped in an attack allegedly instigated by a known gang member who owed several days.

Eyewitness News discovered there are hundreds of inmates who should be in the box, who aren't.

"Was that report true? Are there supposed to be over 900 inmates in segregation who are not?" Chairwoman Elizabeth Crowley asked.

"There are 921 inmates who have been assessed punitive segregation days that have not served all of their punitive segregation days," Correction Commissioner Dora Schirro said.

At a city council hearing Thursday on The City's of Department of Correction, Chairwoman Elizabeth Crowley pressed the Commissioner about the punitive segregation issue.

"Why don't you just make beds for all of those inmates who should be in segregation to send a message?" Eyewitness News Investigative reporter Sarah Wallace asked.

"That's what we're doing. Every bed that can be converted is being converted," Schirro said.

There will be another city council hearing next month dealing with the jail violence issue.

Besides the human toll, there are the escalating cost-medical expenses and lawsuits.


If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at

Follow Jim Hoffer on Twitter at and on Facebook at