Department of Corrections cracking down on staff assaults, seeking quicker inmate rearrests

The newly-minted city corrections commissioner is cracking down on staff assaults and seeking quicker rearrests for a wide range of infractions as Rikers Island continues to roil from chaos, The Post has learned.

The updated approach was detailed in a Wednesday night memo from DOC Chief of Department Kenneth Stukes to all department commanding officers – ordering them to send comprehensive reports on inmate infractions “in a timely fashion” to the Correction Intelligence Bureau in order to eventually seek criminal prosecution.

Inmate infractions that fall under the new directive range from severe offenses like stabbings, slashings and assaults – to inmates spitting on or splashing staffers.

Wednesday’s memo signals a shift on how staff assaults and inmate infractions will be treated under Commissioner Louis Molina, who was tapped to lead the troubled department in December under Mayor Eric Adams.

While rearresting inmates for crimes committed in-custody has “always” been pursued in the department, it has generally only been sought for more severe offenses, a veteran jailhouse source with 10 years on the job told The Post.

“I’ve only seen rearrests for serious injuries and large quantities of drugs,” the source said.

Kenneth Stukes ordered all department commanding officers to send comprehensive reports on inmate infractions “in a timely fashion” to the Correction Intelligence Bureau.
Stephen Yang

“Little things like property destruction, discovery of contraband or dangerous instruments, I’ve never seen an inmate rearrested for that. That’s a consistent occurrence and hard to keep up with to process the inmate for rearrest.”

Patrick Ferraiuolo, president of the Correction Captains’ Association, concurred.

“Every time someone was spat on or even had substances thrown on them, arrests did not occur because if it did, half of Rikers Island would be rearrested on a regular basis,” Ferraiuolo said.

Louis Molina seen during Mayor-elect Eric Adams announcement on his pick for Department of Correction Commissioner at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Louis Molina was Mayor Adams’ pick for Department of Correction Commissioner.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutters

He theorized that Wednesday’s memo was sent out, in part, to boost morale and show officers that assaults will be taken more seriously as the department continues to grapple with an ongoing staffing crisis that’s led to the hellish conditions.

“I believe [Molina] is just really trying to support staff by sending a message by saying if any of these offenses occur against you, we’re going to move to arrest the inmate,” the union president said.

The jailhouse insider was unsure if the protocol would change things, but said “it’s a step in the right direction.”

“The workload is really overwhelming for everyone and that will be a lot of arrests,” the source added.

The DOC did not respond a request for comment.