A Third of Rikers Island Guards Gave Themselves a Snow Day

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A view of buildings at the Rikers Island penitentiary complex where IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being held in New York on May 17, 2011. The grand jury deciding whether or not to send IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to trial has until May 20th to decide. In the meantime, Strauss-Kahn, accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid, remains incarcerated without bail because a judge deemed him liable to attempt escape to France, which does not extradite citizens to the United States.  AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Rikers Island. Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND/2011 AFP

Here’s another item to add to the long list of problems in New York City jails: The Daily News reports that 33 percent of corrections officers failed to show up for work during the January 27 snowstorm, while only about 2 percent of cops, firefighters, and sanitation workers were absent. Insiders said officers who go AWOL are rarely punished, though their absence creates a dangerous situation. Hundreds of inmates were locked in their cells for hours because of the staff shortage, and many guards who did show had to work double shifts. “They wouldn’t let them leave because they had no one else,” said a corrections source.