A man escaped from his recursion cell for nearly half a day without anyone noticing – and now-struck prison staff face discipline over a troubling breakdown of protocol, The Post has learned.
Prison sources and city corrections officials said the inmate, Michael McKenna, went missing from his cell at the Anna M. Cross Center on Tuesday night.
Sources said that correctional officers had realized that one of the prisoners had gone missing after the number of prisoners decreased at around 12.30 am on Wednesday.
But he had no idea who was not in his cell as proper paperwork was missing, according to sources.
So, the sources said, the staff never sounded a red alert to close the prison and scramble officers to search – while the inmate, who went back to jail in July after an armed standoff with police outside the Bronx campus , kept wandering here and there. .
Officials said it wasn’t until 10 hours later that McKenna was found around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday by Anna M. Cross was spotted in the center parking lot and taken into custody without incident.
A DOC spokesperson confirmed the shocking incident, telling The Post that “the incident is under close, active investigation” and that discipline for any negligence will be “aggressively pursued.”
The rupture in Rikers is the latest example of “systemic and deep-seated” problems in the city’s prison system, which have led to staff shortages and an “ongoing humanitarian crisis” for prisoners.
Patrick Ferraiolo, president of the Correction Captains Association, said the failed handling of the escape was “part of the whole dysfunctional situation going on at Rikers Island right now.”
“The facility had no idea the prisoner was missing in the first place,” said Ferraiolo, adding that it was just a coincidence that a captain saw McKenna “walking along the side of the road and attempting to walk through the gates.”
“He was walking towards the road that would lead to the bridge,” he said. “You don’t know in which direction he might have gone at that time.”