DOI report: More than 150 Riker’s guards hired despite past

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A new report reveals that more than 150 jail guards at Riker's Island were hired despite their checkered past.

The Department of Investigations found that a number of the jail guards watching over the prison had priors or some sort of ties to a gang.

In the yearlong investigation, 153 applications were pulled. Of those applications, 54, or 35 percent, had red flags that should have either prevented their hiring or required a follow up.

The report found that working at Riker's Island was a family affair, as 79 of the hires admitted to having a friend or relative as an inmate. Ten of the officers were taken into custody more than once, and 12 were turned down by the NYPD. One of them was rejected because they failed a drug test, according to the report.

The DOI says the city's jail hiring practices are failing, mentioning the absence of a recruiting strategy in the last six years.

Application investigators are also part of the problem as the report says they didn't run credit reports on applicants, screen for gang affiliation or conduct meaningful background checks

Since the DOI left the building, three of the flagged hires at Riker's were fired for misconduct. Two resigned and the Department of Corrections has not mentioned what will be done with the others.

Jail Commissioner Joseph Ponte says he plans to heed the DOI's advice, which includes disqualifying applicants either let go from a public agency or have felony convictions in the past five years.


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