Rikers visitors forget to leave their contraband at home

Jamie Schram

More than 200 deadly weapons and other contraband were confiscated by Rikers officers within three months recently — and that’s just from visitors.

The illicit items — which included razors, boxcutters, folding knives, stun guns, scissors and corkscrews — were uncovered as part of a new program that employs a “softer touch,” sources said.

When the visitors first arrive at the maximum-security facility on a city bus, officers from its Special Search Team and K9 Unit climb aboard to deliver an “amnesty speech,” a Rikers source said.

“They tell them, ‘Look, if you’re carrying a knife, stun gun, scalpel, razor or any type of drugs, you can leave it on the bus and you won’t be arrested,’ ” the source said. “The officers also explain that once you leave the bus with contraband, you will be arrested if we find it on you.”

The source said most visitors heed the advice and ditch their contraband before leaving the bus.

The jailers then collect all of the weapons and drugs, as well as packs of cigarettes and rolling papers, which are considered contraband because smoking is banned on the island.

But visitors often try to smuggle in weapons.

“They’re giving it to the inmate to carry out a gang hit,” the source said.

So far, correction officers have made 35 arrests, including one in which a former inmate returned with a scalpel in his mouth to visit a jailed associate.

“It’s amazing how many people carry weapons on the streets,” the source said.