Ecstasy pills missing from Rikers safe probably won't be found, jail official says, as department probes what happened

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, nydailynews.com
BYLINE: Reuven Blau, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

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Ectsasy pills were discovered missing from a large safe in the back of the Otis Bantum Correctional Facility on Nov. 24. Seth Wenig/AP

The missing ecstasy pills used to train police dogs on Rikers Island are likely lost forever, city jail commissioner Joseph Ponte said Tuesday.

"We have not found them … probably not going to find them," he told reporters. "But the investigation should give us what happened."

The drugs were discovered missing from a large safe in the back of the Otis Bantum Correctional Facility on Nov. 24. The captain in charge of the safe apparently gave the combination to a subordinate before he went on vacation.

INMATE STABS CITY CORRECTION OFFICER IN THE EAR WITH A PEN

Ponte talked to reporters after the city's Board of Correction voted unanimously to approve the department's request to delay until June the city's ballyhooed plan to end solitary confinement for inmates aged 18 to 21.

The changes were slated to go into effect at the start of this year.

The jail commissioner assured the oversight board that it was still moving forward, despite a spike in violence and increased opposition from unions representing jail staffers.

"We are the ones who in fact drafted the plan," Ponte testified. "We are committed to reform. I don't think that's there's any wavering on the plan."

The number of teens and young adults held in solitary confinement has drastically dropped since Ponte took over in April 2014, records show. The figure has decreased from 253 to 41 as of last week, department officials said.

As for the delay, the board ordered the department to file monthly reports on the plan's progress.

"It's not just a report of what they are thinking about, it's what they've accomplished," said board member Dr. Robert Cohen.

The department has to hire and train additional staff and consultants to help form the right programs for the young adults.

"I think they will get there," said Cohen, a frequent critic of the department. "There are forces that don't want it to happen. I don't think that they are dominant although they are very important right now."




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Joseph Ponte, the city’s jail commissioner, talked to reporters after the Board of Correction voted unanimously to approve the department's request to delay until June the plan to end solitary confinement for young inmates. JOE MARINO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
 
 
 
 
 
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