On Monday, the New York Times published the findings of a four-month investigation into assaults on mentally ill patients at Rikers Island. Compelled to speak on the matter, the president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association has tailored a response to the damning article.
In a video just short of 10 minutes, COBA President Norman Seabrook explains that the Times article painted corrections officers in a negative light, specifically that they're "overly aggressive and abusive" towards inmates. According to Seabrook, that's far from true.
"Correction officers defend themselves and use whatever force is necessary to terminate an incident," Seabrook said. He continued that many neglect to acknowledge the other side of the situation, i.e. what forces corrections officers to defend themselves and other inmates.
"Correction officers are physically assaulted every single day in the New York City Department of Corrections, and no one is doing anything about it," he said, firmly.
In regard to inmates with mental health issues, he notes that, instead of being housed in facilities where their struggles can be properly addressed, they're placed on Rikers Island.
Both inmates and correctional officers are being severely injured, and even killed in the worse scenarios, so conversations about a resolution to these problems need to continue. Seabrook just believes both sides to the story are worth noting.
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