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NYC jails boss says extra $28 million in budget will be used for new hires, facility repairs

NEW YORK, N.Y. – New York City’s jails commissioner has told lawmakers an additional $28 million allocated to the fiscal year 2016 budget will help fund reforms at the troubled Department of Correction.

Joseph Ponte (pahnt) said Tuesday after a City Council budget hearing he plans to hire 1,200 more correction officers in the next year as part of the department’s $1.2 billion budget.

He says the application investigation unit to screen problematic hires has been expanded. And a recruitment team is being created.

That’s in part because of a city investigation last year that found Rikers Island jail guards were hired despite gang ties and psychological problems.

Ponte again told lawmakers that while he’s made some progress in the past year much more work is needed to reform the jails.