New York City - Rikers Island prisoners are getting taxpayer-funded pizza parties, with outside pizza being brought in from Domino's Pizza, as a reward for not being violent, according to a report from NY Post.
The Post reports that over two dozen pizzas were seen being brought into the Otis Bantum Correctional Center, which holds the city's worst prisoners in the “Central Punitive Segregation Unit.”
The pizza appears to be part of a plan to reduce violence from inmates.
Patrick Ferraiuolo, president of the Correction Captains’ Association, told The Post that the pizza deliveries violate the rules at the facility, but taxpayers regularly cover the cost of buying Domino's Pizza for prisoners.
“Since when is bringing food in from the outside not considered contraband?” Ferraiuolo told The Post. “It’s not jail food that’s part of the everyday menu.”
“It’s deplorable and disgusting because you have officers that aren’t even afforded a meal leave, and you’re rewarding these inmates with pizza and sodas for good behavior,” union delegate David Fitzgerald said.
Pizza parties started under ex-commissioner Joseph Ponte in 2014. The next year he started rewarding teenage inmates with cash as well as pizza for not being violent.
Ponte quit in May over a scandal involving him using a city-owned vehicle and gas card to drive to Maine.
“This was not ‘pizza-gate,’ ” Rikers spokesman Peter Thorne told The Post. “We gave a couple of slices each to inmates participating in a program that helps reduce violence. And we’d do it again, because these programs are working.”
Serious attacks on officers are down 65 percent since fiscal 2014, but it's not clear how much the pizza contributed to this decline.
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