NEW YORK CITY — Rikers Island staff may have tampered with intake data to hide the fact new detainees were held too long in cramped intake cells, the Legal Aid Society announced Monday.
The public defenders group released documents showing new detainees at Riker’s Eric M. Taylor Center were held for more than 24 hours in quarters without bathrooms, beds or access to food and medicine, a Legal Aid Society spokesperson said.
“This seriously diminishes the credibility of the City’s public assertions that they have solved their long-standing problem of holding people for days in these uninhabitable areas,” said Legal Aid staff attorney Kayla Simpson. “The public deserves answers.”
Patch did not receive an immediate response to our request for comment, but a spokesperson for the city’s Correction department issued a statement to New York Focus.
“We hold transparency and integrity in high regard,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to hold staff accountable so that our jails are run efficiently and that people in our custody are safe.”
The documents in question — obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request — pertain to city regulations that mandate jails process and house people within 24 hours of coming into custody.
The Eric M. Taylor Center became the main facility for men’s intake in 2021 after a federal judge issued an order requiring the DOC to limit intake stays to 24 hours.
But Legal Aid said the newly released records show at least 17 incidents over a two days in June when the admissions data was altered to extend expiration dates.
Changes to the data occurred when a newly-admitted person in custody was approaching the 24-hour limit and, in some instances, following the expiration, according to the analysis.
The New York City Board of Correction wrote a letter addressed to