There’s no denying that Rikers Island has its place in the history of New York, but it’s an island very much in crisis today.
Prisoners detained there have taken matters into their own hands by leaving voicemails for attorneys in New York documenting what they describe as inhumane conditions. Some of them have staged a hunger strike, which has been going since January 7.
“It’s the worst I have ever seen it,” veteran lawyer Christopher Boyle with the New York County Defender Services told “Connect the Dots”. “They’re not getting medical appointments, they’re not getting mental health appointments, they’re not getting any rec time, they’re not able to use the law library...the shower and the bathroom facility apparently has black mold all over it.”
85% of the near 6,000 detainees who populate the eight prison facilities on the complex are awaiting trial. These are people, for the most part, not convicted of a crime yet.
Listen to learn about the conditions those imprisoned at Rikers Island are living through and why change at the jail – which is already under the watchful eye of a Federal Monitor – seems so unreachable.