In the past five years, $111.1 million in lawsuits have been won by New York’s Rikers Island inmates.
The New York Post said in an exclusive report the situation is “out of control”, with payouts including “frivolous” suits.
These are mostly settlements to not take these lawsuits to trial as it will be more expensive, or simply to make these suits go away.
A source at the jail told the Post, “Once the lawsuit is created, even if it’s nonsense, they still get paid — and most of them are nonsense.”
Prisoners are suing the city for injuries they say they received in jail. Some say they slipped on soap in the shower, while others say beds that were too short injured them.
One even said a stopped-up drain in the shower caused him to fall, and says the city is at fault for not putting down rubber mats or orange hazard cones.
In 2011, a suit alleging 100,000 prisoners were illegally strip-searched was settled for $35 million.
Inmates who are familiar with these suits pass around names of lawyers who win against the city, some even write the contact information near jail payphones.
From 2007 to 2011, the department of corrections was sued nearly 8,000 times.
The city’s legal department didn’t know the number of suits being filed by prisoners, but said “frivolous” lawsuits waste city taxpayer dollars.
A spokeswoman said, “They unfortunately require us to deploy valuable public resources to investigate and defend the city.”