What stops us from looking at ourselves is that we’re kind of ugly if we look really hard; we’re not who we think we are, and we’re not as wonderful as we think we are.
We conclude that there is a pattern and practice of conduct at Rikers that violates the constitutional rights of adolescent inmates. In particular, we find that adolescent inmates at Rikers are not adequately protected from harm, including serious physical harm from the rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by DOC staff. In addition, adolescent inmates are not adequately protected from harm caused by violence inflicted by other inmates, including inmate-on-inmate fights. Indeed, we find that a deep-seated culture of violence is pervasive throughout the adolescent facilities at Rikers, and DOC staff routinely utilize force not as a last resort, but instead as a means to control the adolescent population and punish disorderly or disrespectful behavior. Moreover, DOC relies far too heavily on punitive segregation as a disciplinary measure, placing adolescent inmates—many of whom are mentally ill—in what amounts to solitary confinement at an alarming rate and for excessive periods of time.
To those busy patting yourself on the back for the attention that solitary confinement for juveniles is getting, great. But that is just one of 80 pages worth of problems that also need attention.
"Simply put, Rikers is a dangerous place for adolescents and a pervasive climate of fear exists."