Horizon corrections officers hold prayer vigil to demand change

Posted: Updated:
THE BRONX -

Corrections officers from the Horizon Juvenile Detention Center held a prayer vigil Tuesday to demand change at the facility.

The officers say they've been punched, kicked and spit on by inmates. They say there have been back-to-back brawls inside the center.

"They are afraid to go to work," says Karen Fox, a former corrections officer. "They have to stand out here and pray everyone makes it out the same way they came in."  

Fox says she quit her job for fear of her own safety and to avoid being transferred to Horizon.

Since the mandated transfers to Horizon, more than 40 corrections officers have been hurt in the span of a week. The teen inmates are being housed at the facility as part of a state law to move 16- and 17-year-old offenders out of a jail setting.

The city's Administration for Children Services, which oversees the juvenile detention facilities, released a statement saying, "We are in a transitionary period for a historic reform that's never been done before and there have been some incidents involving youth and officers, which were quickly addressed. None of the injuries were serious, but we take these and all incidents seriously." 

The city's Department of Corrections says it will take 15 to 18 months for the transition period at Horizon to be completed. It says new measures are being put in place to protect employees.

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