- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - About 600 new jail guards have graduated from the academy to staff New York City’s troubled jail system.

Jail officials say Friday they hope to recruit three classes of similar size next year. They say more guards are needed to improve safety and reduce the amount of costly overtime correction officers currently work.

The city’s Rikers Island jail complex has come under intense scrutiny in recent years amid increased levels of jailhouse violence and other issues.

A report last year by the Department of Investigation found that guards with criminal histories and gang ties had been hired without proper background checks.

Officials say this year’s class was more properly vetted. Investigators visited applicants’ neighborhoods, documented their tattoos and researched their social media posts.

There are about 10,200 inmates.

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