Use of Tasers at Rikers Considered Step Backward For Reform

The Mayor announced a plan to rollout tasers to the DOC Emergency Services Unit and some supervisors. In addition, the plan called for the addition of scanners to check inmates and visitors for contraband and the hiring of more COs.

The Legal Aid Society has issued the following statement from Mary Lynne Werlwas, Director of the Prisoners' Rights Project:

"It is dangerous to introduce this new weapon to Rikers before the leadership has shown it can control staff violence. Until there is a change in the entrenched culture of staff flouting the rules and lying about it, adding potentially deadly tasers to our jails is unwise and unsafe. The militarization of the Emergency Services Unit--a command with a profoundly troubling reputation for use of force - will not make line correction staff any safer, but will only destabilize a system all agree needs to change. This is a serious step backward for reform."