clock menu more-arrow no yes

Rikers Island

Filed under:

PHOTOS: Inside Brooklyn’s Infamous House of Detention Jail

As plans to close chaotic Rikers Island slowly turn, the Atlantic Avenue lockup is already empty and awaiting demolition. THE CITY toured the old jail and found eerie signs of the building’s 65-year history of holding countless detainees.

Filed under:

De Blasio’s Order to Delay Solitary Confinement Reforms Over Rikers Chaos Slammed

The sister of Layleen Polanco, whose 2019 jail death galvanized the movement to end isolating inmates, expressed her "disgust" for the mayor. De Blasio’s handpicked leader of the city jail oversight board also condemned his 11th-hour executive order.

Filed under:

Adams’ Ties to Lobbying Firm That Represents Jail Workers Raises Questions on Rikers Island Future

The mayoral frontrunner supports closing the troubled jails complex, but has left the door open to changes in the plan. Meanwhile, with Rikers in chaos and correction officers calling in sick, Adams has strong links to a lobbyist paid by their union.

Filed under:

How Can NYC End Rikers Island Chaos? We Asked Four People on the Front Lines

A mother whose son died behind bars, a top jail supervisor, the city’s former head of criminal justice and a recently released detainee weigh in on the crisis — and what can be done amid growing violence and staff absences.

Filed under:

Hear No Evil: De Blasio Visits Rikers But Doesn’t Talk to Detainees or Guards

The mayor took what one critic called a "sugar-coated" tour through the chaos-plagued jail complex Monday — marking his first visit in four years to the "nightmarish" lock-up.

Filed under:

After NYC Jail Officials Ignored Suicide Prevention Plan, Five Detainees Took Their Own Lives

A federal monitor’s latest damning dispatch landed as local members of Congress called on President Biden to stem the chaos at Rikers Island. Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio promised to visit the beleaguered jail for the first time in four years.

Filed under:

New Death Rocks Rikers Island as De Blasio Targets Correction Officers’ Union With Huge Fines

Isaabdul Karim became the 11th detainee to die this year at Rikers, which has been roiled by inhumane conditions as staff outages reach 1,800 a day. The city is suing to make the union pay $1 million for every day of massive absences.

Filed under:

Justice Delayed: City Jail Staff Shortage Keeps Detainees From Getting to Court

"It’s a tremendous problem and it’s getting worse," one public defender said. Meanwhile, advocates derided Mayor de Blasio’s emergency plan to stem Rikers Island chaos as too little, too late — and called for a mass release of low-level offenders.

Filed under:

Rikers Island Guard’s Desertion of Post Led to Detainee’s Death, Family Alleges

Filed under:

Self-Harm Is Exploding In New York City Jails, Internal Numbers Show

Self-harm — including suicides — at Rikers Island and other local lockups spiked last summer as COVID-19 ravaged New York, figures obtained by WNYC/Gothamist and THE CITY show. The rate’s climbed to historic levels in the months since.

GOT A TIP?

We’re here to listen. Email tips@thecity.nyc or visit our tips page for other ways to share.

Filed under:

Rikers Staffing Crisis Limits Access to Medical Care

With thousands of officers not coming into work, incarcerated people aren’t getting escorted to their medical appointments, a New York Focus investigation finds.

Filed under:

Rikers Detainee Endured ‘Horrible Conditions’ Before Dying in Cell, Jails Overseer Finds

Missing blankets and sheets. No pillows. Limited food and exercise. That’s what a new father jailed on a parole violation stemming from a shoplifting arrest faced before becoming the first of three men to die at Rikers since April.

Filed under:

Tablets for Inmates: New NYC Jails Chief Presents Reform Plan Ahead of Next Mayor

Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi’s "comprehensive post-pandemic recovery" proposal also covers everything from cutting down on triple shifts for correction officers to fixing broken cell doors.

Filed under:

Hundreds of New City Jail Officers for Rikers Put Detainee Advocates on Guard

Rikers Island and other city lockups employ five officers for every three incarcerated people. As some call for a reduction in officers, the City Council okays a budget plan that boosts the ranks by 400.

Filed under:

Tears and Joy as Rikers Island Resumes In-Person Visits

The Department of Correction stopped visitation last spring at the beginning of the pandemic. Now family and friends of detainees are returning under a new system.

Bronx Woman Mourns Son Who Died at Rikers as Cellmate Says Help was Slow to Come

Jose Mejia Martinez became the third person jailed on a parole violation to die at the city jail since April. Another detainee told THE CITY a jail officer didn’t immediately get medical help for the ailing man, remembered by his mother as "very caring."

Filed under:

Another Man Died at Rikers as Lawmakers Voted on Parole Bill that Might Have Saved Him

Jose Mejia Martinez succumbed after an arrest for stealing beer triggered a parole violation. It marked the third such death at Rikers Island since April. The bill passed Thursday would help parolees avoid returning to jail.

Filed under:

Solitary Confinement Reforms Approved for City Jails, Even as Advocates Decry ‘Broken Promise’

The city further limited isolation Tuesday — two years and a day after Layleen Polanco’s death on Rikers Island. But her sister and other inmate advocates are slamming de Blasio for not fully eliminating the practice.

Filed under:

Death of Two Men at Rikers — One Held on Shoplifting Rap — Amplifies Push to Overhaul Parole Rules

The deaths of Thomas Braunson and Richard Blake come as lawmakers rush to pass the "Less is More" reform package that would restrict re-jailings on minor charges. But the clock is ticking with the Legislature set to break for summer next week.

Filed under:

New City Jails Boss Open to Next Mayor Extending His Sentence

Incarceration reformer Vincent Schiraldi, appointed by de Blasio to run the troubled Correction Department, says he’d consider staying past Dec. 31. He wants to end the violence that’s plagued Rikers Island and other local lockups.