NEW YORK – The Department of Justice has been reviewing the treatment of adolescent inmates at Rikers Island in a probe linked to the 2008 death of a teenage prisoner in a fight club overseen by corrections officers.
The city's Corrections Department confirmed Friday that a federal investigation into the Robert N. Davoren Center, the primary facility housing underage prisoners at Rikers, began in January and is continuing.
"What they're interested in are allegations that staff at Rikers failed to adequately protect inmates from harm -- specifically adolescent inmates," said corrections spokeswoman Sharman Stein.
The Department of Justice declined to comment.
The investigation comes in response to the 2008 death of 18-year-old Christopher Robinson, who was beaten to death by other inmates in what prosecutors described as an organized system of inmate-on-inmate coercion and violence overseen by corrections officers.
Two officers, Michael McKie and Khalid Nelson, were sentenced earlier this year to short prison terms after admitting they acted in concert with inmates during assaults on adolescent prisoners, though neither man was linked directly to Robinson's death.