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New York City’s Rikers Island jail routinely violates rights of teen inmates: DOJ

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By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday a multi-year investigation of New York City’s Rikers Island jail has found a pattern of conduct that violates the constitutional rights of adolescent male inmates.

The findings, which focused on the use of force by jail guards, solitary confinement and violence at the city’s largest detention facility, recommended that New York begin housing teenage inmates elsewhere.

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“For adolescents, Rikers Island is a broken institution. It is a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort; where verbal insults are repaid with physical injuries; where beatings are routine while accountability is rare; and where a culture of violence endures even while a code of silence prevails,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a joint statement with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

In a news conference, Bharara said his office had not yet launched any legal action in connection with the report, but he would not rule out possible charges in the future.

In its report to the City of New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said correction officers at the sprawling jail complex too often resort to blows to the heads or faces of young inmates. On any given day in 2013, up to 25 percent of adolescent inmates were in solitary confinement, which sometimes lasted for months at a time, it said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jim Loney)

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[Hands in jail via Shutterstock]


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‘Hard to overstate’ how badly Taylor’s testimony damaged Trump: Ex-federal prosecutor

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On Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote for Politico Magazine that the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor was devastating for President Donald Trump — and that if he keeps trying to deny wrongdoing, it will only get worse and maybe even force Senate Republicans' hand against him.

"It’s hard to overstate how much damage the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor inflicted on President Donald Trump’s defense in the ongoing impeachment inquiry," wrote Mariotti. "On its face, Taylor’s testimony Tuesday established the quid pro quo that Trump has denied for weeks. But more importantly, Taylor’s detailed notes of the 'highly irregular' policy-making that he witnessed over the summer provide a roadmap to future testimony that could be even more harmful. Republicans have already begun to retreat from their 'no quid pro quo' line, but they will have to keep retreating because Taylor has almost single-handedly decimated the few witnesses who have provided some testimony that is favorable to Trump."

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‘How much did you get for your soul?’ Internet dogpiles Lindsey Graham after he walks back criticism of SCIF raid

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On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to have reached the limit of his capacity to defend his own party when a gang of House Republicans raided a sensitive, compartmented information facility where an impeachment hearing was taking place and illegally bringing in recording equipment. Initially Graham criticized the Republicans behind the stunt, calling it "nuts."

Later, however, he changed his mind and decided the demonstration was fine with him, offering this explanation:

CORRECTION:

I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street.

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‘We lost New Mexico to Mexico’: Internet breaks into hysterics over Trump wanting to build border wall on Colorado

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The president of the United States indicated he accidentally forgot where the state of Colorado was during his speech to an energy conference of fracking companies Wednesday.

Trump told the audience he was building a "wall" in Colorado, which is the state just north of New Mexico. If Trump was referring to his U.S.-Mexico border wall, it's the southern New Mexico border on which he intends to build the wall.

It prompted many to wonder if the president whipped out his fact-changing Sharpie yet again.

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