In April of 2018, a lawsuit was filed against the New York City Department of Corrections for its inhumane practices within Rikers Island jail. The lawsuit detailed how inmates were subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, including solitary confinement and inadequate medical care. Since then, many reviews have surfaced about the conditions set forth in this lawsuit. From activists and advocates to ex-inmates, there is no shortage of opinions on the topic at hand. This blog post will take a closer look at these reviews, along with a few key facts from the original case brought forward against the city. Read on to learn more about what’s being said about Rikers Island today.
What is Rikers Island?
Rikers Island is a large complex of jails in New York City. The island is located in the East River between Queens and the Bronx. Rikers Island is home to some of the most dangerous criminals in New York City. The average stay at Rikers Island is one year.
The conditions at Rikers Island have been described as “inhumane” and “jail-like.” The island has been plagued by violence, gangs, and drugs. Inmates have been known to commit suicide while at Rikers Island.
The lawsuit against Rikers Island was filed in 2013 by the family of Kalief Browder, who committed suicide after spending two years at Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. The lawsuit alleges that the conditions at Rikers Island are unconstitutional and that the city of New York is responsible for the death of Kalief Browder.
The History of Rikers Island
Rikers Island is one of the world’s largest correctional facilities, and it has a long and storied history. The island has been home to a Native American village, a colonial-era farm, and a Civil War-era prison. It was also the site of one of New York City’s first psychiatric hospitals. Today, Rikers Island houses some of the city’s most dangerous criminals.
The island was originally inhabited by the Lenape people. In the early 1600s, the Dutch colonized the area and established a farm on the island. During the American Revolution, Rikers Island was used as a Prisoner of War camp for British soldiers. In 1884, New York City purchased the island from the state of New York for $180,000. The city then built a jail on the island to relieve overcrowding at other jails in Manhattan.
In 1935, New York City opened one of its first psychiatric hospitals on Rikers Island. The hospital housed some of the city’s most mentally ill patients. Many of these patients were transferred to other psychiatric hospitals or prisons when it closed in 1963.
Rikers Island has been home to some of New York City’s most notorious criminals. In 1987, murderer Joel Steinberg killed his six-year-old daughter on Rikers Island after she was caught stealing candy from another inmate’s cell. In 1999, convicted rapist Neil Chambers raped an inmate on Rikers Island while he was working as a correction officer. And in 2003, a federal court found that New York City had violated the constitutional rights of inmates on Rikers Island by failing to provide adequate medical care.
Rikers Island has come under greater scrutiny in recent years due to reports of violence, poor sanitation, and abuse. In 2017, the city agreed to close Rikers Island by 2026 and replace it with smaller jails located in each borough. However, the plan has been met with resistance from some community members who fear that the new jails could have a negative impact on their neighborhoods.
The Current Situation at Rikers Island
Rikers Island is one of the most notorious jails in the United States. The prison complex is plagued by violence, corruption, and neglect. In recent years, there have been a number of high-profile cases of abuse and mistreatment at Rikers Island.
In 2015, the US Department of Justice launched an investigation into the use of force by guards at Rikers Island. The DOJ found that guards routinely used excessive force on inmates, particularly those with mental health issues. The report also found that guards failed to properly document the use of force, and that there was a culture of impunity among the guard staff.
Following the DOJ report, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to reform the conditions at Rikers Island. However, little progress has been made in addressing the problems at the jail complex. Inmates continue to be subjected to violence and mistreatment, and conditions remain substandard.
The current situation at Rikers Island is deeply troubling. Reforms are urgently needed to address the culture of violence and impunity among the guard staff, and to improve conditions for inmates.
The Lawsuit Against Rikers Island
The lawsuit against Rikers Island was filed in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Justice, alleging that the conditions at the New York City jail complex violated the constitutional rights of inmates. The lawsuit claimed that inmates were subjected to excessive force by corrections officers, and that the city failed to protect them from violence by other inmates.
In 2015, a federal judge approved a settlement agreement between the city and the Justice Department, which included a series of reforms to be implemented at Rikers Island. The settlement required the city to reduce the use of solitary confinement for inmates under age 21, increase staffing levels, improve training for corrections officers, and implement other measures to improve safety at the jail complex.
The Outcome of the Lawsuit
The lawsuit was brought by the family of Jerome Murdough, who died in 2014 while being held at Rikers Island. The lawsuit claimed that the city was responsible for Murdough’s death, because it failed to provide adequate medical care and supervision.
The jury found in favor of the city, and awarded the family $1.5 million.
What’s Next for Rikers Island?
What’s next for Rikers Island?
The Rikers Island Lawsuit is currently under review by a federal judge. If the lawsuit is successful, it could mean big changes for the notorious jail complex.
The lawsuit alleges that conditions at Rikers Island are so poor that they amount to “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. The plaintiffs are hoping to force the city to make significant changes to the way Rikers is run.
So far, the city has resisted making any major changes to Rikers. But if the lawsuit is successful, it could force the city’s hand. The most likely outcome is that the city will be required to implement some kind of reform plan aimed at improving conditions at Rikers. This could include things like hiring more staff, increasing funding for programs, and improving training and supervision.
Of course, it will take time to see if any of these changes actually make a difference. And even if they do, Rikers Island will likely always be associated with violence and mismanagement. But this lawsuit could be a first step towards cleaning up one of America’s most notorious jails.
The Rikers Island Law Suit is a critical case that has the potential to drastically improve the lives of prisoners in New York City. The current conditions at Rikers Island are inhumane and violating multiple constitutional rights, making it essential for plaintiffs to win this case. Lawyers are pushing for reform and have argued passionately against these injustices. With any luck, this case will set an important precedent and bring much-needed change to those incarcerated in NYC prisons.