Statement from Dr. Frank Proscia, President, Doctors Council SEIU, on Rikers Anti-Violence Agenda

Doctors Council SEIU commends Mayor de Blasio’s announcement today of new initiatives tocombat violence and promote safety on Rikers Island. The Mayor and Commissioner importantly noted that staff workplace safety and inmate safety are inextricably linked – we could not agree more.  We hope the initiatives announced, especially additional surveillance cameras and new housing strategies that recognize the most dangerous inmates and vulnerable locations, will be a step towards improving safety standards for inmates and for the dedicated health professionals working at Rikers Island.


Healthcare professionals at Rikers report to work every day to provide top-notch patient care and that care suffers when clinicians are forced to work in a chaotic and unpredictable environment. Lockdowns, contraband and violent incidents affect the ability of the medical staff to maximize the availability of medical clinic appointments. It is within a safe environment and with safe staffing levels that the dedicated doctors of Doctors Council SEIU and other staff can provide quality and timely health care services to our patients.


We support the administration’s vision for a culture of engagement among agencies working at Rikers. Doctors Council will continue to take a leadership role in meeting with various relevant agencies to ensure that stronger workplace safety standards continue to be a priority. We need Rikers to be a viable place of employment, where every inmate has timely access to quality health care.


About Doctors Council SEIU

Doctors Council SEIU, a professional organization for doctors, is the nation’s oldest and largest union of attending physicians and dentists in the United States, with members in New York City, and in states across the country. Formed in 1973, Doctors Council SEIU is a union for doctors and a voice for patients, and represents attending physicians and dentists at Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) facilities and hospitals, including doctors employed by the affiliates New York University School of Medicine, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Physician Affiliate Group of New York (PAGNY). HHC is the largest public hospital system in the nation. Doctors Council SEIU also represents doctors in the New York City Mayoral agencies including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) as well as doctors working at Rikers Island, the largest correctional facility in the nation. Affiliated with SEIU, Doctors Council SEIU is a national union representing doctors employed in the public and private sectors.

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