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Settlement expected soon on Rikers Island reforms

The eastern section of Rikers Island jail complex

The eastern section of Rikers Island jail complex in Queens on June 11, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

Lawyers for Rikers Island inmates, the city and the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said Wednesday that they expect to have a settlement agreeing to reforms at the troubled city jail by June 22.

The comments came at a status conference in federal court in Manhattan for a private lawsuit over mistreatment of prisoners that was joined last year by the U.S. Attorney after a scathing report that found widespread violations of the civil rights of young inmates.

Emily Daughtry, a federal lawyer, and Celeste Koeleveld, a lawyer for the city, both told U.S. Magistrate James Francis there were important sticking points remaining in negotiations, but the sides are committed to an agreement by the self-imposed June 22 deadline.

Daughtry said federal officials are "disappointed" the process hasn't moved faster, but will keep pushing the city. "There is a serious, decades-long culture of violence that needs to be reformed," she said.

Possible changes that have been discussed include improved training of guards, a disciplinary crackdown on unnecessary use of force, more cameras and a monitor to oversee implementation of reforms.

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