- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - The head of New York City’s jail system has announced new safety measures after recent attacks on health staff members.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte (PONT’) says in a statement Wednesday the moves are a step toward longer-term solutions.

Ponte says the Rikers Island psychiatric clinic will be relocated to a larger space where civilian workers won’t have to pass by inmates awaiting mental health services in tight corridors.

In recent months, at least two mental health workers have been assaulted by inmates.

The DOC says about 40 percent of the roughly 12,000 inmates in the nation’s second-largest jail system have a mental health diagnosis and that they account for about 60 percent of assaults that result in serious injury.

Ponte says wardens are also devising facility-specific security plans.

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