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Last Rikers brutality case fuels debate on the prison of the future

NEW YORK – The final cruelty of the case against a Rikers Island guard has been added to the fuel of a growing debate about whether New York City is terribly violent prison complex has become so dysfunctional it should be closed.

At least 35 employees on Rikers faced with criminal prosecution in the past three years, many in connection with cruelty.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls the situation at Rikers “untenable” and says that the jail needs to be replaced.

Some activists say that the closing of Rikers is the only solution for a cycle of abuse, violence by guards and gang members, the molestation of minors and detainees with a mental illness and unjustly long detention for minor offenders.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is against a shutdown, saying the improvements would cost less and make more sense.

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