Rikers crisis: medical care delayed for thousands; Biden refuses to visit the prison complex

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – President Joe Biden has refused to visit Rikers Island during his trip to New York this week, despite pleas from inmates and prison reform activists.

“We encourage every public servant, every decision-maker to see with their own eyes what is happening at Rikers, because once you do, you can’t just turn away,” said Brooke Menschel, Director of Civil Rights and of law reform for Brooklyn Defender. Services.

Court documents filed by the city this week revealed that inmates at Rikers missed more than 7,000 medical appointments in December alone, with more than 1,000 of those medical appointments missed because there was no prison guard available to escort the inmate.

Brooklyn Defender Services is suing the city on behalf of several Rikers inmates for access to medical care. “We have people who are dependent on heart medication, HIV medication, diabetes medication just to maintain basic survival,” Menschel explained.

Mayor Eric Adams told PIX11 News, “I have contacted Commissioner Molina and he is moving in to ensure that we have the right of these inmates to get their medical appointments.”

The Department of Corrections announced that 1,000 officers are back on active duty after a staffing shortage that reached record levels.

“I agree with the unions that we need to be properly staffed,” Adams said.

The Department of Corrections graduated 75 recruits this week, but the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association told PIX11 News their officers need more reinforcements. Union President Benny Boscio said, “We urge the city to commit to hiring at least 2,500 additional officers as soon as possible, so that together we can restore safety and security to city ​​jails.

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