After seeing an inmate’s attempted suicide on tour, lawmakers dub the New York City jail “Horror Island.”
After seeing an inmate’s attempted suicide on a private tour, New York lawmakers are detailing the horrific circumstances at one municipal jail.
On Monday, more than a dozen state and municipal legislators visited Rikers Island. Democratic Assemblyman Kenny Burgos told reporters at a press conference following the walk-through that he had just experienced “horror island.”
Burgos remarked on Twitter, “My visit was gut-wrenching, and I experienced firsthand the awful conditions at this prison.” “Those who are now detained are suffering, and ten people have died at Rikers Island only this year.”
According to lawmakers, the cells were overcrowded and the floors were covered with debris. Showers were used as cells in some circumstances.
Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas said at the press conference, “I just witnessed an attempted suicide.” “‘Miss, please come here.’ They leapt to their feet and attempted to hang themselves. Senator Ramos and I were right there.”
After the tour of Rikers Island, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams claimed he immediately called Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio to demand that they visit the jail and take action.
On Tuesday, Williams told PIX11 News, “What I observed yesterday was a state of emergency.” “To be honest, it was a complete disaster. Anyone on both sides of those bars is not safe in there.”
Nearly 6,000 detainees are housed on Rikers Island, which employs thousands of officers. The institution has recently been plagued by a staffing shortage, with officers failing to report for duty, inciting rising violence and neglect.
Last week, Benny Boscio, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, told NY1 that officers are calling in sick due to hazardous conditions. In addition, according to Boscio, the city hasn’t hired any new jail officers in three years.
Since December, at least ten detainees have died at Rikers Island, including a 24-year-old inmate who died just last week. The medical examiner’s office is investigating the reason of his death.
Following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation last month, Hochul, the Empire State’s new governor, said she will consider legislation that would allow people on parole accused of non-criminal technical violations, such as missed curfews or marijuana use, to be issued a violation rather than being sent back to jail.
“I’m going to take a close look at that. What is going on in our city jails concerns me much. This is a condensed version of the information.