Male inmates allegedly tried to ‘go after’ female chief

Rich Calder and Natalie O'Neill | New York Post

A wild group of young male inmates at Rikers Island bum-rushed six female correction officers in an escape attempt over the weekend — but the gutsy guards held them back, correction sources told The Post on Monday.

The pack of roughly 10 jailbirds, ranging in age from 19 to their early 20s, tried to burst through a door of a unit that houses 40 of the lockup’s worst-behaved inmates while officers were on an inspection tour around noon Sunday, the sources said.

The troubling incident began shortly after city Department of Correction Assistant Chief Karen Collins, who led the tour, ordered an inmate to follow jail rules by removing a piece of paper blocking his cell window in the George R. Vierno Center, sources said.

The inmate, known as an influential troublemaker, flipped out and threatened to flood his cell with sink water. He may have sparked the attempted escape by encouraging prisoners to storm large blue door and push it open, the sources said.

Collins and the other women — an assistant deputy warden and four correction officers — quickly barricaded and locked the door before calling DOC’s Emergency Services Unit for backup. Nobody was injured.

The unit, known as “9B,” leads out to the general population of the jail, where teen inmates are also housed. Some of the inmates in the special wing are allowed to walk around freely outside of cells.

“If they would have gotten out, they could have trampled [the officers] and started a major melee inside the jail,” said a correction source.

The outburst might have been directed at Collins after inmates got word she was touring the area.

Before the escape, Collins was also confronted on the tour by an angry inmate who complained she “put him in harm’s way,” the sources said.

Elias Husamudeen, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, said, “This was a two-star chief of the agency. If [the inmates] had such low disregard for her inside [the jail], where does that leave the average correction officer?

“It’s a ticking time bomb.”

The incident comes roughly two weeks after two officers at Rikers Island were assaulted by a pair of inmates in what officials called an “unprovoked attack.