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Surprise Visit to NYC’s Rikers Island Jail Finds Improvements

Three city officials tour troubled facility, say conditions better but still dangerous.

An improvement in staffing levels at New York’s troubled Rikers Island jail complex has had a positive effect on the conditions there, a delegation of city officials said after an unscheduled visit on Monday. 

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and City Council Member Carlina Rivera visited the jail to assess progress without giving city Department of Correction officials a heads-up. The delegation found that there has been a substantial improvement in conditions, thanks in part to a reduction in staff calling in sick, though the jail remains dangerous, they said.