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Vocapedia > Justice > USA > Prison, inmates > Rikers Island, NY

 

 

 

Illustration:

Jillian Tamaki

 

What I Saw on Rikers Island

Cecily McMillan on Brutality and Humiliation on Rikers Island

NYT

JULY 23, 2014

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/
opinion/cecily-mcmillan-on-brutality-and-humiliation-on-rikers-island.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus In Jail: Why An Outbreak Puts an Entire City at Risk    NYT    8 April 2020

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus In Jail: Why An Outbreak Puts an Entire City at Risk        Video        NYT News        The New York Times        8 April 2020

 

Officials have promised a mass release of inmates

from city jails to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Critics say the government isn’t moving fast enough.

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b11oIVO9SJU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Beating at Rikers        NYT        15 July 2014

 

 

 

 

A Beating at Rikers        Video        The New York Times        15 July 2014

 

Andre Lane talks about a confrontation

he had with correction officers at Rikers.

 

This incident

is one of 129 documented cases of beatings

that resulted in severe injuries to inmates.

 

Produced by: Mona El-Naggar

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1nomNNU

 

YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=YMf3maleD4s&list=UUqnbDFdCpuN8CMEg0VuEBqA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rikers Island jail, New York / Rikers Island Prison Complex

 

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/organization/
rikers-island-prison-complex

 

 

2022

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/15/
arts/music/james-brown-rikers-island.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2022/01/19/
1058825742/q100-bus-rikers-island

 

 

 

 

2021

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/30/
nyregion/rikers-correction-officers-sexual-assault.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/11/
nyregion/rikers-detainees-correction-officers.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/27/
nyregion/rikers-island-esias-johnson.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/24/
nyregion/rigoberto-lopez-nyc-subway-stabbings.html

 

 

 

 

2020

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/20/
nyregion/rikers-coronavirus-nyc.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/
opinion/womens-jail-rikers-island-covid.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2020/04/18/
837923621/you-just-get-written-off-one-inmate-on-life-on-rikers-during-the-pandemic

 

Coronavirus In Jail:

Why An Outbreak Puts an Entire City at Risk

Video        NYT        8 April 2020

https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=b11oIVO9SJU

 

https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/
100000007059873/coronavirus-rikers-island.html - early April 2020

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/
nyregion/coronavirus-rikers-nyc-jail.html

 

 

 

 

2019

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/12/
nyregion/nicholas-feliciano-rikers-suicide.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/04/
nyregion/garden-rikers-island.html

 

 

 

 

2018

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/
nyregion/solitary-confinement-lawsuit-young-inmates.html

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/15/
585745249/new-york-city-officials-reach-deal-on-shuttering-rikers-island

 

 

 

 

2017

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/16/
nyregion/rethinking-rikers.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2017/11/30/
559846083/despite-scrutiny-rikers-islands-culture-of-violence-persists-report-says

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/
nyregion/rikers-rape-case-guards.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/31/
522251063/rikers-island-could-be-closed-and-replaced-with-smaller-jails-around-new-york-ci

 

 

 

 

2016

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/nyregion/rikers-island-
officers-sentencing-jahmal-lightfoot-beating.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/nyregion/rikers-island-
solitary-confinement.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/24/
opinion/imagining-a-rikers-island-with-no-jail.html

 

 

 

 

2015

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/28/nyregion/
former-rikers-inmate-who-received-settlement-is-fatally-shot-in-brooklyn.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/05/nyregion/
rikers-island-captain-and-officer-are-charged-with-beating-inmate-18.html

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLsURI9uFWk - NYT, September 3, 2015

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/
opinion/shut-down-rikers-island.html

 

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/
putting-fewer-innocents-behind-bars/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/
opinion/ending-the-rikers-nightmare.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/nyregion/
kalief-browder-held-at-rikers-island-for-3-years-without-trial-commits-suicide.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/20/nyregion/
2-rikers-inmates-sue-saying-guard-repeatedly-raped-them.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/nyregion/
mayor-de-blasios-plan-to-shrink-rikers-population-tackle-court-delays.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/nyregion/
for-mentally-ill-inmates-a-cycle-of-jail-and-hospitals.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/opinion/
the-horrors-keep-coming-at-rikers.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/nyregion/
even-as-many-eyes-watch-brutality-at-rikers-island-persists.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/nyregion/
rikers-officers-who-beat-an-inmate-in-2012-are-fired.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/15/nyregion/
hired-for-new-york-jails-despite-warning-signs.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/nyregion/new-york-city-
to-end-solitary-confinement-for-inmates-21-and-under-at-rikers.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/03/nyregion/
rikers-inmate-found-dead-after-threatening-to-harm-himself.html

 

 

 

 

2014

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/20/
opinion/next-steps-on-brutality-at-rikers-island.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/nyregion/
at-rikers-a-roadblock-to-reform.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/23/
opinion/the-new-york-jail-scandal-continues.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/29/nyregion/
new-law-boosts-oversight-of-use-of-solitary-confinement-at-rikers.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/25/
opinion/whats-really-wrong-with-rikers.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/nyregion/
why-violence-toward-inmates-at-rikers-grew.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/nyregion/
no-charges-over-inmates-beaten-at-rikers-island.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/05/nyregion/
05rikers-report.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/05/nyregion/
us-attorneys-office-reveals-civil-rights-investigation-at-rikers-island.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/opinion/
cecily-mcmillan-on-brutality-and-humiliation-on-rikers-island.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/22/
nyregion/new-york-city-reviewing-injuries-dealt-by-rikers-correction-officers.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/
opinion/in-a-cellblock-on-rikers-island-a-portrait-of-abuse.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/nyregion/
rikers-study-finds-prisoners-injured-by-employees.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/nyregion/
3-rikers-officials-charged-in-brutal-beating-of-inmate.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/25/nyregion/
2-officers-and-20-inmates-are-arrested-in-corruption-sweep-at-rikers-island.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/nyregion/
warden-at-rikers-island-demoted-after-inmate-dies-in-overheated-cell.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/nyregion/
complaint-by-fired-correction-officer-adds-details-about-a-death-at-rikers-island.html

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/nyregion/
correction-officers-and-supervisors-charged-in-beating-at-rikers.html

 

 

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/17/
strauss-kahn-rikers-island

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/16/
us-strausskahn-rikers-idUSTRE74F7OH20110516

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the women’s jail at Rikers Island

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/
opinion/womens-jail-rikers-island-covid.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years,

homeless shelters and Rikers Island

have served as de facto mental health hospitals.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/24/
nyregion/rigoberto-lopez-nyc-subway-stabbings.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rikers Island jail, New York / Rikers Island Prison Complex > Coronavirus > Covid-19

 

https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/
100000007059873/coronavirus-rikers-island.html - early April 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

be exposed to the coronavirus

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/
opinion/womens-jail-rikers-island-covid.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

guard

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/nyregion/
correction-officers-and-supervisors-charged-in-beating-at-rikers.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sexual assault > female officers

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/30/
nyregion/rikers-correction-officers-sexual-assault.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

inmate

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/
nyregion/solitary-confinement-lawsuit-young-inmates.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/nyregion/
3-rikers-officials-charged-in-brutal-beating-of-inmate.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/nyregion/
correction-officers-and-supervisors-charged-in-beating-at-rikers.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

be subjected to abuse

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/
opinion/womens-jail-rikers-island-covid.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

suicide

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/nyregion/
kalief-browder-held-at-rikers-island-for-3-years-without-trial-commits-suicide.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corpus of news articles

 

Justice > USA > Prison, inmates >

 

Rikers Island, NY

 

 

Shut Down Rikers Island

 

JULY 17, 2015

The New York Times

SundayReview | Opinion

By NEIL BARSKY

 

A CASUAL reader of the news these days might conclude that there is real hope for Rikers Island, New York’s cesspool of a jail complex, located swimming distance from La Guardia Airport in the East River.

This month, the city announced an ambitious supervised release program that will offer some defendants alternatives to jail, and earlier this year, the city agreed to end the use of punitive solitary confinement for inmates 21 and younger. The state’s top judge wants to reduce the time defendants await their day in court. The United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration have agreed to a series of reforms, including the appointment of a federal monitor and better record-keeping and restrictions on use of force by guards. And the New York City Council is working on a bill to create a bail fund for certain low-level defendants.

Still, one would search in vain for an informed person who believes any of these laudable measures will fundamentally alter life at Rikers. Indeed, recent reports suggest that violence has continued apace on the island even after the surge of press scrutiny and the push for reform. Dramatic change is hard to come by in an institution such as Rikers, with its entrenched unions and government bureaucracies, a hidebound court system and an antiquated physical plant.

If our courts were speedier, our bail system not so rigged against the poor and our mental health and drug rehabilitation programs properly funded, Rikers and other jails might be manageable. Instead, Rikers and big city jails around the country have become notorious dumping grounds for the impoverished, the addicted and the mentally ill.

The reality is that the only way to transform Rikers is to destroy it; it needs to be permanently closed. The buildings are crumbling. The guard culture of prisoner abuse and the gang culture of violence are ingrained. The complex is New York’s Guantánamo Bay: a secluded island, beyond the gaze of watchdogs, where the Constitution is no guide. It is a place that has outlived its usefulness.

Shuttering Rikers would be an audacious move for Mr. de Blasio, who would have to find alternatives for the island’s roughly 10,000 overwhelmingly male, African-American and Latino inmates. This may not be as hard as it might seem, though it would probably involve some new or expanded detention facilities in the boroughs, risking not-in-my-backyard blowback.

The mayor would also need to confront a cozy judicial culture that tolerates delays by judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. He would need the backing of the city’s five district attorneys, the City Council, the state Office of Court Administration and the correction officers union. Most challenging, perhaps, he would need the cooperation, if not the outright support, of his bête noire, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

No doubt he would be branded a softy by the tough-on-crime crowd. But the mayor might be pleasantly surprised by the public support for the idea. Over the past year, a wave of revulsion has swept over the city, as horror story after horror story of beatings, suicides and an inmate who was allowed to bake to death have incited genuine public outrage. In conversations with people close to City Hall, former city officials and veteran criminal justice professionals, I have sensed a growing willingness to explore the “close Rikers” option, and many in the criminal justice community are beginning to think the unthinkable. It would require meaningful research and planning, but I think the mayor would find many allies.

“Given Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to reform the city’s jail system, it is important to also consider the ultimate reform, closing the largest penal colony in the United States and moving pretrial detainees closer to the courts and to their families,” said Michael P. Jacobson, executive director of the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance, and a correction commissioner under former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Closing Rikers would reverberate far beyond New York. Criminal justice reform is having a “national moment.” For the first time in half a century there appears to be bipartisan support for changes in police practices, drug decriminalization, sentencing and the use of solitary confinement. The closing of the country’s most notorious jail would serve as a powerful message that institutions can be held accountable, that government can take new approaches to old problems, and that real change is achievable.

It would also set an example for other cities whose jails have become hotbeds of violence or default mental institutions. It would elevate us in the eyes of the developed world, where our astounding rate of incarceration, our preference for punishment over rehabilitation and our affection for the death penalty make us an outlier.

Finally, rebuilding the 400-acre island would unleash one of the most exciting redevelopment opportunities of a generation. The island could accommodate thousands of housing units, boosting Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing initiative. It could become a park, or a university campus. Some believe it can be part of a much-needed plan to build another runway at La Guardia.

The logistics of closing Rikers would be challenging, but they are not insurmountable. Shortening average stays would go a long way toward reducing the population. The mayor’s plan to expand supervised release programs would be a substantial achievement. The city has also agreed to find a place to move 16- and 17-year-old prisoners. More than half of the Rikers population is there because they cannot make bail. Eliminating money bail, or at least greatly modifying it, could lead to the release of another large portion of the jail population. Likewise, shifting drug- or alcohol-addicted prisoners to alternative programs such as drug or alcohol rehab, and relocating the seriously mentally ill, could reduce it further. Expanding capacity in borough detention facilities could absorb some of the remaining slots. Finally, the roughly 15 percent of Rikers residents who are sentenced prisoners could be moved to state prisons. This is an admittedly crude analysis, and there will still be a need to build some new facilities in the boroughs, but it demonstrates that the goal is within shooting distance.

The city has several funding options to pay for the transition. It could probably raise hundreds of millions of dollars selling the island to private developers or the Port Authority, which operates La Guardia. The Manhattan district attorney’s office and the City of New York recently received several hundred million dollars each from Wall Street asset forfeiture settlements. What better use of these funds than to contribute to the closing of the city’s most infamous jail complex?

Ultimately, closing Rikers will be a matter of the city’s collective political will and conscience. Interestingly, the city has risen to a comparable challenge in the past. In the 1980s, there was an internationally disreputable neighborhood where crime, drugs and prostitution were rampant, which sprawled over many crowded blocks, and which had successfully repelled years of cleanup efforts. Finally, a mayor and governor who openly detested each other joined forces to clean up the place once and for all. They fought lawsuits, condemned land, assembled properties and successfully transformed the neighborhood. That place was Times Square; the mayor’s name was Edward I. Koch and the governor was Mario M. Cuomo, the father of the current officeholder. Rikers is inarguably a bigger blot on New York than Times Square ever was, and most everyone will celebrate its demise.
 


The director of the documentary “Koch” and the chairman
and founder of The Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism organization that covers criminal justice and published this article in collaboration with The New York Times.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on July 19, 2015,
on page SR4 of the National edition with the headline:
Shut Down Rikers Island.

Shut Down Rikers Island,
NYT,
JULY 17, 2015,
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/opinion/shut-down-rikers-island.html

 

 

 

 

 

Ending the Rikers Nightmare

 

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages | Editorial

JUNE 24, 2015

 

Brutality is a decades-old problem in Rikers Island jail complex in New York City. Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, was on the mark last year when he said that ending it would require new policies that would be monitored and enforced by a federal court instead of being allowed to fade when public attention inevitably waned after the latest lawsuit or headline. Mr. Bharara delivered on that promise on Monday, when the city agreed to sweeping policy changes to settle a long-running legal battle over abuses at the jail.

Mr. Bharara documented some of the mistreatment of adolescents at Rikers in a report last summer that depicted a deep-seated culture of violence in which inmates were battered for minor infractions and often seriously injured by poorly trained and supervised officers who routinely used force for the purpose of inflicting pain — and got away with it because other officers covered up for them. The report also noted that correction officers bent on vengeance against inmates were able to carry out the beatings in areas of the complex they knew were free of security cameras.

Beyond that, the investigation found that regulations requiring officers to promptly report either using force or witnessing its use by others were routinely ignored. Mr. Bharara’s office pointed to a horrific instance of this problem when it charged one current and two former correction officers this month in connection with the 2012 beating death of an inmate and a conspiracy to make it seem that the violence used against the inmate was justified.

Instead of suing the city itself, the federal Justice Department last year joined a pending class action that charged the Department of Correction with failing to supervise officers who committed acts of brutality. The suit, Nunez v. City of New York, was well along in the litigation process, having been filed in 2011 by the Legal Aid Society and two law firms, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady and Ropes & Gray.

After months of negotiations with the city, the parties announced on Monday that they had reached a settlement agreement containing a broad package of reforms that will be overseen by an independent monitor who will closely assess compliance and submit periodic reports to the court. Among other things, the agreement requires the jail system to develop new policies for how force is used, reported and investigated; install thousands of new surveillance cameras; and improve staff recruitment and screening.

The agreement pays special attention to adolescents on Rikers Island, who were shown to be especially poorly treated in last summer’s Justice Department report. For example, the officers who work with adolescents will need to be better trained to handle this age group. The disciplinary procedures used with them will need to be revamped from top to bottom — and solitary confinement, which is particularly harmful for the young, will no longer be allowed for inmates under the age of 18.

The need for such a policy was underscored this month when a young former inmate who had spent nearly two years in solitary confinement at Rikers hanged himself at his family’s home. Most important, the city, with the help of the monitor, will try to find a place away from Rikers Island to house young inmates.

The settlement agreement is an important first step. But given the city’s past inability to stay focused on this problem, the courts and the Justice Department will need to stay involved until the reform job is done.

A version of this editorial appears in print on June 24, 2015, on page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: Ending the Rikers Nightmare. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Ending the Rikers Nightmare,
NYT,
JUNE 24, 2015,
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/opinion/ending-the-rikers-nightmare.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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