Rikers Island guards are costing taxpayers millions while idly awaiting trial on serious criminal charges
A total of 80 guards accused of things like beating inmates and smuggling drugs at Rikers Island jail in New York are costing taxpayers millions of dollars annually to do nothing for 8 hours a day while their cases make their way through disciplinary or criminal proceedings, the New York Daily News revealed in a Thursday investigative report.
The corrections officers have been accused of beating or sexually assaulting inmates, smuggling drugs into jails or falsifying records, yet have been “shelved” in a “rubber room” where they do nothing but collect their full salaries and benefits — all while overtime in the Department of Corrections also skyrockets, the Daily News reports.
The Daily News conservatively estimated the officers are costing taxpayers $5 million annually.
“I sleep all day,” one of the officers told the Daily News. “I sleep eight hours. Not because I want to, but that’s the only thing I can do.”
The officers, who are placed on what is called “modified duty,” have had their weapons taken away and are barred from interacting with inmates. One has been sitting aimlessly in the rubber room for a full six years.
Unnamed department sources told the Daily News that the officers are there for a variety of reasons. Some have simply annoyed their bosses.
Others face more serious allegations.
Officer Herman Jiminian, 42, was arrested and charged with recruiting inmates to beat a detainee. Yet he is still pulling in his annual $89,372 salary. Jorge Garcia pleaded guilty to taking thousands of dollars in bribes and smuggling tobacco to inmates. He is making $93,138 annually. Capt. Moises Simancas has been charged with beating a handcuffed inmate unconscious, yet is earning $87,159.
New York City law allows officials to clear the cases, the Daily News reports.
Jail Commissioner Joseph Ponte to suspend corrections officers, without pay, pending adjudication of their cases. Captains can only be suspended 30 days without pay before being put back to work. But Corrections officials insisted they are doing everything they can to clear the back log of cases.
“This is a historical problem not specific to this administration,” former acting Correction Commissioner Mark Cranston told the Daily News. “And it’s largely due to a lack of information provided by [Department of Investigation] or other investigative bodies.”
Watch a video report from the New York Daily News here: