Capital New York:
New limits will be placed on visitors to Rikers Island in an effort to reduce the amount of drugs, weapons and other contraband being smuggled into the facility, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
The policy change, which the mayor announced during a visit to the jail, is part 14-point plan to decrease violence at the jail, tighten security and more closely monitor staff.
Under the new policy, inmates will be prevented from having prolonged physical contact with visitors and plexiglas partitions will be installed at visiting tables. Although the details were not entirely clear, the department also hopes to install a criminal background checking system for visitors at the facility's entrance.
“We are acting decisively to reduce violence. The polices that we announce today will have a profound impact on reducing the amount of violence that has been experienced here over many years,” said de Blasio, who was making his second visit to the jail in a year. “We know that many criminal gangs use the visitation process to pass weapons and pass drugs to their fellow gang members here in this facility.”
Since last July, 239 visitors have been arrested, 16 weapons have been confiscated and drugs have been seized from 44 visitors entering the jail, according to data provided by the Department of Correction.