A federal prosecutor is accusing Rikers Island of subjecting adolescents to a culture of violence.

“There is a pattern and practice of conduct at Rikers that violates the constitutional rights of adolescent inmates,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.  “We are talking about a culture problem and a systemic problem.”

Bharara said inmates are beaten and put in solitary confinement as a form of punishment.  He claimed beatings are routine and accountability is rare.

“Rikers Island is a broken institution for adolescents,” Bharara said.  “And a broken institution will produce broken people, especially when they are young and fragile with mental illness, as so many of them are.”

Bharara has offered a series of recommendations to correct the behavior.


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