A correctional officer in Rikers Island was severely beaten up by a pair of gang members on Friday, Oct. 22, as the shortage of officers in the prison and its living conditions continue to deteriorate further.

The officer, who is yet to be named as of press time, was reportedly removing garbage from a Bloods gang member’s cell when the inmate punched him in the face. The assailant then took his keys and freed another Bloods gang member, who proceeded to join the inmate in beating up the officer, the New York Post reported.

A chemical agent was sprayed by other guards in the area to break up the tussle, and the inmates were shortly returned to their cells. The officer, who suffered facial injuries from the fight, was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Conditions in Rikers continue to worsen since its Summer of Hell, as staffing problems have caused multiple deaths and assaults in the prison, with over eleven inmates dying due to reasons that stem from antiquated facilities and a large officer shortage, according to a previous report.

Reforms have been attempted in Rikers Island recently to lessen the prison load of the officers in the area, including the Less is More Act which releases prisoners who are there because of technical parole violations.

Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Benny Boscio lambasted Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi for his failure in hiring 600 new correction officers to help bridge the gap in Riker Island’s shortage of guards and workers.

“After not hiring Correction Officers for nearly three years, the Department hired a mere 64 officers several weeks ago and only 39 officers last week,” Boscio said in a statement.

Over 500 workers have resigned or retired from working in Rikers Island, causing the staffing shortage in the prison to intensify even further. Boscio has criticized the current Correction Commissioner for the lack of action he seems to have regarding the current conditions of the prison.

“Our staffing crisis is a result of the Department’s failure to ensure there are optimal staffing levels to provide the highest levels of security,” Boscio said. “Does the Commissioner think these officers are faking their injuries so they don’t have to come to work? Does he expect them to provide him with a doctor’s note within 24 hours?”

Schiraldi has not commented on the situation.

An officer in Rikers Island found himself beaten senseless by two gang members after one of them attacked him while he was taking the garbage out of the prisoner's cell. This is a representational image. Matthew Ansley/Unsplash.

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