Rikers Island

Report: Corizon’s “flagrantly inadequate, substandard and dangerous” care killed Rikers inmate Bradley Ballard

The New York State Commission on Correction released a new report this week, detailing the findings from its investigation into the horrific and preventable death of mentally ill black inmate, Bradley Ballard. Ballard was left in his cell for six days straight in September, 2013. Guards shut the water off to his cell for over four days, and not once during that time was he treated for his schizophrenia and diabetes. On the rare occasion that he was seen by a medical worker, their talks [Continue reading]

NYC’s new rules for solitary are not the reforms we’ve been looking for

Would NYC’s new rules for solitary confinement have saved the life of 19-year-old Andy Henriquez? Henriquez was brought to Rikers Island when he was only 16. Three years later, he was still awaiting trial when he was placed in isolation. Henriquez had complained of chest pains for seven months before being thrown in ‘the bing,’ but no one at the prison took him seriously. Health and correction staff ignored Henriquez’ increasingly-dire calls for help, to the [Continue reading]

UPDATED: NYC Board of Corrections Approves New Rules for Solitary Confinement, ESHU

This post is being updated throughout the day. Please check back later for more updates. Update 8:07, 1/14/15: Here is a copy of the final rules approved by the BOC yesterday. I’ll have more to say on this in the next day or two when I have time to put together a full post, but I would be very cautious of reports and official statements touting Rikers as a new ‘model for reform’ given its proposed restrictions on solitary for juvenile offenders. Not only because there are so [Continue reading]

NYC Doubles Down on Solitary Confinement with Latest Rikers “Reforms”

The AP reports that the NYC Board of Correction (BOC) will vote this coming Tuesday on changes to solitary confinement on Rikers Island, including a new Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit (ESHU) for the prison’s “most dangerous” inmates and policies that seek to limit punitive segregation for other inmates, particularly the mentally ill and juveniles aged 16-21. The proposed BOC rules also include: Ending isolation for ‘owed time‘ Ending isolation for [Continue reading]

Rikers Island Reform: the Good, the Bad and the Omitted

After a summer and fall wracked with reports of violence, corruption and abuse on Rikers Island, it seems like change, in some form, is finally on its way. Growing protests over law enforcement brutality and the advent of prosecutions, federal lawsuits, committee reports and policy changes now conspire to face down many of the NYC Dept. of Corrections’ worst demons. Some of the possible reforms have yet to germinate, such as those stemming from the Justice [Continue reading]

Are NYPD Protests Reaching Rikers Island?

In December, the New York Times ran a story on a sadly historic event: The first Rikers Island correction officer to be tried for civil rights abuses in more than a decade was found guilty on Wednesday by a jury for his role in the death of an inmate in 2012. Terrence Pendergrass could serve up to 10 years in federal prison for refusing to seek medical attention for Jason Echevarria, 25, a pretrial detainee, who cried out for help after swallowing a highly toxic packet of detergent that [Continue reading]

Laughably Bad Security Allows Rikers Staff to Make Thousands of Dollars Selling Drugs, Alcohol and Weapons to Inmates

A new report by New York City’s Department of Investigation found rampant security violations on Rikers Island that allowed corrections officers and staff to sell contraband such as weapons, alcohol and narcotics to inmates for a sizable profit. DOI has been investigating the Department of Corrections since early January and plans to release a full report by the end of the year. Security is so lax and inconsistent at Rikers facilities that a high schooler could get through the [Continue reading]

New York City Jails Need More than Resignations and Reforms

There has been a flurry of activity surrounding the NYC Department of Corrections and Rikers Island after a series of horrendous reports exposing subhuman conditions, abuse and corruption at the city’s largest jail. But I am unconvinced that the situation is moving in the right direction. The top uniformed official at the Department of Corrections, William Clemons, resigned at the end of October. Clemons was one of two men to have been promoted by DOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte [Continue reading]

Corizon Lied to Families of Deceased Rikers Island Inmates

Corizon Health Services, inc. (formerly known as Prison Health Services, Inc.) routinely lied to families of deceased Rikers Island inmates about their cause of death — including incidents for which the company may have been responsible. A spokesperson for Corizon told reporters that the death investigations were not technically kept secret from the families because they were always available through public records requests– an extremely difficult and time consuming [Continue reading]

Rumor Has It That NYC May End Corizon Contract on Rikers Island

For years, the nation’s largest for-profit prison healthcare provider — Corizon Health Services, Inc. — has repeatedly won lucrative government contracts despite numerous appalling reports and hundreds of lawsuits for inmate abuse and employee misconduct. But with the possibility of a federal intervention looming over their heads, NYC officials are considering revoking their contract with Corizon. The AP reports that anonymous leaks from the de Blasio [Continue reading]
1 2 3