Elected officials inspected the conditions at Rikers Island on Sept. 13 following yet another death in the jail — and they said what they found shook them to the core.
The visit came days after Esias Johnson, a 24-year-old awaiting trial, became the 10th individual to perish within the controversial penal facility this year when he was discovered unresponsive on Sept. 7. A coalition of politicians toured the prison on Monday in hopes of pinpointing the issue at hand.
Gathering at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Hazen Street after their visit, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas, state Senator Jessica Ramos, Senator Alessandra Biaggi, and many more stood in shock and disgust after visiting the complex. They professed ] seeing urine and fecal matter strewn over the floor; individuals coughing up blood and even an attempted suicide.
Some of the speakers said Rikers Island had become a humanitarian crisis.
“I can’t begin to tell you the deplorable conditions that we saw inside OBCC. In one of the intake rooms there are at least one dozen men per cell. The conditions are so extreme that Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas and I witnessed somebody attempting to commit suicide just a little while ago. These men are desperate for simple medical attention as just measuring their sugar. They need their fingers pricked to figure out whether their diabetes is under control or not, never mind they are not obviously receiving any insulin. Those that need to access the methadone clinic have not been able to do so,” Ramos said, describing the unsanitary conditions.
“It’s all because the incarcerated men and women who are on that island are being treated unfairly, and the correction officers are working under very deplorable conditions themselves,” Ramos added, stating that everyone on Rikers Island should be kept safe.
In response to these claims regarding the conditions within Rikers Island, DOC Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi has launched #NewDayDOC to target initiatives that will help increase staffing and safety through scheduling changes, new recruitment, and establishing a new process for calling out sick with Mt. Sinai so that they may return to active duty quickly, as well as other changes.
Yeah, a hashtag will stop the violence and abhorrent environment that was exacerbated by the city's decision to shut down Rikers to build borough jails and the closing of other facilities on the island. Feckless moron.