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De Blasio to Cuomo: Mind Your Own Business About Rikers Island

By Trevor Kapp | March 21, 2017 3:17pm
 Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted on Tuesday that the city will fix the issues at Rikers Island on its own.
Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted on Tuesday that the city will fix the issues at Rikers Island on its own.
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That was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s message Tuesday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who over the weekend called Rikers Island “intolerable” and insisted that it be shut down.

“Let me be clear: Rikers Island is the responsibility of the city of New York to resolve,” de Blasio said at an unrelated news conference.

“The state’s job is to take care of the state prison system. It’s as simple as that.”

The governor on Sunday suggested Wards Island as a potential Rikers replacement site and called on the city to build two to three new jails.

“Rikers Island is one of those long-term injustices and abuses that every New Yorker should be outraged about,” Cuomo said, according to reports. “The situation is intolerable.”

But de Blasio said the city has taken major strides over the past few years to improve conditions on the island, which houses more than 7,000 inmates, and will continue to do so — on its own.

“We ended solitary confinement,” the mayor said. “This was one of the worst parts of the history of Rikers Island. It went on for a long time. Solitary confinement, including of minors, we ended that.”

DNAinfo reported on Monday that a Rikers inmate plans to sue the city for $20 million after he was slashed across the face by a reputed Bloods gang member as Correction officers stood idly by.

“None of them do anything to stop it, and one is taking photographs and leaks it out,” inmate David Marrero’s lawyer, Pamela Roth, said. “It’s a violation of my client’s privacy. You can’t just start taking photos. He’s there as an inmate. He has his civil rights.”

Rikers guard Rodiny Calypso was also arrested Monday on charges that he beat up an inmate and then tried to cover it up, according to federal prosecutors.

De Blasio said the city can make the necessary fixes on its own.

“Our job is to address this crisis,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for three straight years. We’ll be doing a lot more going forward."