Officer Allowed Inmates to Use Cell Phone to Communicate with Dangerous Rikers Island Inmate

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment and arraignment of New York City Correction Officer ROSALYN WILKES, 43, in Manhattan Supreme Court on five counts of Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, for using, and allowing inmates to use, a cellular telephone inside the Manhattan Detention Center.

“Correction Officers have enormous power and an equal responsibility to keep our jails safe, and our inmates secure,” said District Attorney Vance. “By violating basic rules of conduct, this defendant put her needs and the desires of inmates above the safety of her colleagues, the inmate population, and the public. I thank our partners at the Department of Investigation for their extensive work on this case.”

According to documents filed in court, WILKES used her cell phone at least eight times while on duty last October inside the Manhattan Detention Center in Lower Manhattan. New York City Department of Correction regulations prohibit correction officers from bringing their personal cell phones into any correctional facility. WILKES used her cell phone to receive personal calls from an inmate on Rikers Island with whom she had a personal relationship. This inmate was incarcerated and awaiting trial on multiple indictments charging three robberies and possession of a gun, and was classified by the Department of Correction as a member of a Security Risk Group, a Correction designation for inmates believed to be members of or affiliated with major street gangs. WILKES repeatedly received calls from and engaged in extensive conversation with the inmate while she was supposed to be at her assigned post within the Manhattan jail. At various times, WILKES also passed her cell phone to inmates in her charge so that they could communicate with the Rikers Island inmate as well.

DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said: “City Correction Officers are supposed to protect order and safety in the jails, not compromise them. DOI investigators connected the dots that led to this indictment of a correction officer charged with abusing her position. We are committed to working with District Attorney Vance and the Department of Correction to expose and stop this type of dangerous and illegal conduct.”

Assistant District Attorney Charles Linehan is handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Luke Rettler, Chief of the Official Corruption Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Julio Cuevas, Deputy Chief of the Official Corruption Unit. The case was referred to the District Attorney’s Office by the New York City Department of Investigation’s Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Correction, under DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

Defendant Information:

Brooklyn, NY


Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, five counts

A class D felony is punishable by up to 7 years in prison.