Correction Department officers clad in full uniform lined up on the bridge to Rikers Island on Monday to honor retiring chief Michael Hourihane for his three decades of service. Hourihane began his career in 1981 as a correction officer before ascending the ranks to become warden on Rikers. In 2010, he was named the deputy chief.
However, Hourihane's legacy has been marked with increases in violence inside the jails and attacks on officers. On Rikers, the number of stabbings and slashings doubled from 35 to 70 in 2012, making it the highest number since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2001.
Jail experts say that the spike in violence is associated with an influx of new gangs, cutbacks on correction officers and the failure of the Bronx District Attorney's office to add new charges for inmates who participate in fights.
One jail official was furious at the sendoff Hourihane is receiving. “What exactly are we celebrating?” the official said about the ceremony, which will feature the department's pipe and drum band. The last time a departing chief was given a retirement ceremony this big was over a decade ago, and it was voluntary.
[via NY Daily News]