As a Bronx criminal defense attorney, I spend my time fighting to keep my clients out of Rikers Island Jail. The jail, which houses both men, women and adolescents, is notoriously dangerous.
Stabbings, slashings and gang fights are commonplace at Rikers Island.
In an effort to combat the violence at Rikers, Department of Correction staff employ a variety of measures, including: strip-searching detainees, conducting cell searches for weapons and drugs and thoroughly searching all visitors. DOC likely feels that the less access the detainees have to weapons and narcotics, the less violent they will be.
That being said, the recent actions of Matthew Matagrano demonstrate the flaws in Department of Correction security. Mr. Matagrano, a former convict himself, managed to sneak into Rikers by impersonating a Department of Correction investigator. Once inside of the jail, it is alleged that Mr. Matagrano moved an inmate from one cell to another, smoked cigarettes with inmates and stole a radio from an office.
If the allegations are true, the Department of Correction should be ashamed. Mr. Matagrano, or any other person improperly gaining access to secured parts of Rikers, could supply detainees with knives, guns, razors, narcotics or any other contraband. Violence, already prevalent inside Rikers, could skyrocket to new heights if contraband can be so easily smuggled into the jail. This presents a heightened safety risk for detainees as well as DOC staff.
Mr. Matagrano will ultimately have his day in Court. Since cases arising on Rikers Island are prosecuted in Bronx County, Mr. Matagrano will be prosecuted by the Bronx District Attorney's office. Mr. Matagrano will undoubtedly need a Bronx Criminal Defense Lawyer that has experience handling cases in Bronx County. Given his current predicament, he will need an aggressive Bronx Criminal Defense Attorney on his side.