It's So Dangerous In This Jail, They're Begging For "Outside Help"

Aerial view of Rikers Island
Zain Murdock
September 15, 2021

New York City’s Rikers Island isn’t new to crisis. But right now, overcrowding is forcing people into feces-flooded cells, COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire, and fights are breaking out over food. The situation is so bad that incarcerated people are attempting suicide to get out of it!

In an unprecedented move, Rikers chief medical officer Ross Macdonald blew the whistle, begging for “outside help.”

It’s a “humanitarian crisis,” said Assemblymember Emily Gallagher after visiting: “A horror house of abuse and neglect.” Activists are calling for the jail to be shut down. And why not? Most of Rikers detainees are literally just awaiting trial!

We’re near the anniversary of the Attica Prison Revolt, and NYC public advocate Jumaane Williams believes conditions are so bad that a revolt may happen again. Except now, we have a pandemic on our hands.

New York’s dehumanization of incarcerated people shows that not only is incarceration not meant to rehabilitate, but that they don’t care about its effects on the general public either. Why?

Millions of COVID-19 cases could have been prevented in the U.S. had it not been for incarceration – and those cases don’t stop at the jail’s fences. We need to expose the truth in not just Rikers Island, but jails everywhere, before it’s too late.

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