A 'Culture of Brutality' on Rikers Island

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A view of the buildings at Rikers Island.

On Monday, The New York Times published an investigation — based on more than a hundred incident reports — where it was found that Department of Corrections guards at Rikers Island had beaten inmates so severely that they required medical attention beyond the prison's capabilities. The Times also obtained a secret study conducted by the city's Health and Mental Hygiene department, which "helps lay bare the culture of brutality on the island and makes clear that it is inmates with mental illnesses who absorb the overwhelming brunt of the violence." Michael Winerip and Michael Schwirtz, The Times reporters who conducted the investigation, discuss their reporting and the policy implications.