Mayor Eric Adams and the city Department of Correction will avoid a federal takeover of the dangerous Rikers Island jail complex for at least the next five months, even as new revelations arise about deplorable conditions.

U.S. District Court Judge Laura Swain on Tuesday approved the city’s action plan to improve operations. She scheduled the next court hearing for November, essentially giving the Department of Correction five months to fix long festering issues like mass staff absences, attacks on officers and inmates, and cell doors with busted locks. Swain wrote that at that time, “further remedial relief” — like putting control of the jails under a federal receiver — “may be necessary should Defendants not fulfill their commitments and demonstrate their ability to make urgently needed changes.”

The Legal Aid Society, whose public defenders represent Rikers inmates, has sought a federal receiver, or takeover, of the jails. Inmate advocates and even a former correction commissioner have also called for it, saying there are too many union rules and city regulations that stymie needed improvements, and only a federal receiver would have the power to fix conditions.

Swain’s decision came just as the Board of Correction, which oversees the department, concluded its monthly meeting where new details about horrific conditions were raised. Board member Bobby Cohen, who is also a doctor, said that last week he toured the intake facility at the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers. He called it “frightening.”

“I've never seen something as chaotic as this,” he said. He described inmates packed in tight, filthy pens, urinating on the floor because of a lack of access to bathrooms, and missing court appearances.

”The receiving room was packed with screaming people, some had been there for many days,” he said. Cohen also said there were three “mass beatings” of inmates at the facility in May alone, all requiring hospitalizations.

Correction Commissioner Louis Molina, who was at the virtual meeting, didn’t respond directly to Cohen’s observations. But he said in recent months there has been a reduction in slashing and stabbings, and use of force by officers is likewise down. He blamed part of the problem on previous administrations’ failure to hire more officers and properly fund the department.

But the federal monitor who oversees Rikers has said that rampant staff absenteeism and abuse of the department’s unlimited sick leave policy is the reason why so many posts go unmanned at Rikers, leading to dangerous situations and crowded intake areas. The jail also has a higher ratio of officers to inmates than the national average.

As part of the action plan, Molina promised to crack down on abuse of sick leave, and strengthen policies regarding absences.