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A corruption sting at the notorious Rikers Island prison in New York shines a light on the widespread human rights violations in the U.S. prison population
Two guards and six inmates at New York's troubled Rikers Island jail complex are among 17 people charged with running extensive smuggling networks to provide prisoners with weapons and drugs, authorities said Thursday.
The defendants were arrested over the course of several months and face a total of 84 charges in four separate indictments.
Rikers Island, one of the country's biggest jail facilities with approximately 10,000 inmates, has long been plagued by what authorities describe as pervasive violence and smuggling.
Crime within the U.S. penal system is common, and Rikers is a troubling example of the extent to which officials engage in unlawful acts. A Reuters analysis previously found that more than 50 guards at Rikers have faced criminal charges since 2012 for assault, falsifying reports and smuggling contraband, as city and federal investigators have accelerated efforts to combat misconduct among correction employees.