We take the issue of violence in our jails very seriously and have taken significant steps, as part of our 14-Point Anti-Violence Reform Agenda, to address the root causes of violence in our jails.


These steps have included: 


  • Creating a new system, the Housing Unit Balancer (HUB), for classifying inmates based on their propensity for violence and housing them in ways that are designed to produce less conflict. 
  • Offering more programming to reduce idleness and help inmates build skills inside the jails and upon release.
  • Installing cameras throughout our facilities to deter violence and aid in the investigation of violence; cameras have now been installed in all housing areas on Rikers Island.
  • Providing specialized training, including on crisis management and de-escalation, for staff who work with our most difficult populations – young adults, adolescents, the seriously mentally ill and those who are persistently violent.
  • Implementing new strategies to prevent and detect contraband, including uniforms, additional staff dedicated to search teams, and new scanners that can better detect the non-metal weapons that are increasingly used by inmates.
  • Restarting housing units with physical renovations, trained steady staff, inmates assigned with the HUB, and on-unit programming.

Though even one act of violence is unacceptable, as a result of these efforts, DOC has been able to drive down many measures of violence.


In 2016, DOC reduced total assaults on staff by 11% and serious assaults by 31%.  We reduced our uses of force by 3% and uses of force involving serious injury by 35%.