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Hundreds at Rikers Protest Living Conditions, Stage Hunger Strike

200 men detained at Rikers Island say they are on hunger strike to protest conditions at the jail facility (Photo: Queens Post)

Jan. 12, 2022 By Allie Griffin

Approximately 200 men detained at the Rikers Island jail facility have organized a hunger strike —claiming that it is in response to being denied basic services and being forced to live in inhumane conditions.

The men started the hunger strike to protest what they say is an unacceptable level of violence—as well as unhygienic living quarters. The men cite other issues such as the lack of outdoor recreation, as well as a lack of medical and health assistance.

A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections said that while the inmates are refusing department meals, they are eating food from the commissary.

The protest marks what several elected officials say is an increasingly dire situation at the jail facility. Staffing shortages and COVID-19, they argue, have created a dangerous environment for the roughly 5,400 people detained — most of whom are awaiting trials.

Last year, 15 people held at Rikers died — the highest number of inmate fatalities at the facility since 2016.

Many of the detainees have been denied access to outdoor recreation, the law library and other areas because they are quarantined due to a COVID exposure, according to the reports.

However, COVID infection is nearly impossible to avoid as many of the protesting inmates live in dorm-style settings with beds just a foot apart.

Inmates also said they have not received their mail and packages and do not have adequate heat in their quarters as temperatures dip below freezing.

One of their biggest concerns, according to reports, is the delay — or altogether absence — of medical services.

Queens Council Member Tiffany Cabán, whose district includes Rikers Island, said she has heard of one instance in which a person waited two and a half weeks to have broken bones put in a cast.

“These conditions are torture, plain & simple,” Cabán tweeted.

email the author: news@queenspost.com

33 Comments

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Michelle

Follow the money! If the majority of detainees are awaiting trial, but the facility receives a check for ALL of it’s population…inmates, detainees and staff…because remember the staff eats there too..on the dime of the people mind you. Then the mice and bugs in the dorms means their in the food too fam. That might be why the victims (detainees) refuse to eat. Also, in these facilities, detainees are the cooks! Would you want to eat food prepared in this manner? It would bee poisonous! Lastly, the fact that the 2 best ways to prevent the spread of the virus, according to the brainwashing, is cleaning your hands and ventilation. So if they can’t provide clean food, clean cooks, ventilation, clean dorms…and these people haven’t been convicted….set them free! They can report to court on their own!

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Bella

The prison is just another extension of the real world so if things are bad out here it must be really terrible in jail. Unfortunately the powers-that-be care nothing about those inmates.

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Perry

I have a family member at Rikers and he has been talking about how cold it is there. They Don’t Care about Us he told me and they never have. Some of us are finally waking up. I just hope it ain’t too late. Please call Julie Won and tell her to Join Tiffany Caban in her quest to help POC and closing Rikers. ??‍♀️??‍♀️??‍♀️✊?

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Smh

So all people of color in rikers are innocent? Or are all POC criminals? Which one is it?

If your family member cared about the people he victimized then he wouldn’t be in this predicament. Funny how “activists” love playing the race card and assume they can win a prize aka freedom, free better food, etc.

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Andrea

Those prisoners are not lying! The whole truth is probably not being told at all! I feel so terrible these detainees!

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ABoondy

what Rikers needs is hard labor. use the prisoners to rebuild infrastructure as Joe wanted. imagine how much money can be saved and taxes lowered if you could use prison labor year round.

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Andy

Today is the best time in history to be an inmate on LIBERAL rikers Island. Anyone who is on Rikers Island right now is a hardened violent criminal, everyone else has been released. These liberal lunatics defending them have no idea how dangerous these guys are. If these advocates happened to be locked up on Rikers Island, these inmates would be beating them, robbing them and making their lives a living hell. Delusional liberals. If you seen what kind of lives these people live in or outside jail, you’d be second guessing your stance.

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Yolanda

Everyone needs to chill. The inmates are merely protesting and asking for what the rest of Western queens has been protesting for and asking for months. Its a reflection of what residents/voters want and who they voted in based on stances during campaigning. Less of a police presence/because some say they are unjust and racists, better free healthcare for all, better free living conditions, better free food, bail reform and early release based on systematic racism and circumstances, more freedom and safety, etc.

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Truth hurts

Yes the criminals are there because of their race and not because of their actions. And a lot of people actually believe that. Lol. How can people have and want more safety when there is less police and bail reform ? Read the article posted a few days ago and explain. The majority of violent criminals rescind. And when they do, who are you going to blame? Systemic racism? You contradicted yourself and tried to articulate what Bragg has been pushing. Lol. And where is this magical money coming from for better free food and free housing? Is it that hard to work hard, struggle but accomplish something in your life to better yourself and your family instead of depending on the government? Or are you going to go back to the systemic racism argument? More government means more freedom? How?

Truth of the matter here are the people in rikers are bad people who committed crimes because of their choosing, same with the Jan 6 rioters. Playing the race card is nothing more than a smokescreen to hide why people made poor choices in life and want shortcuts to a better life instead or earning it.

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lost values

Yolanda nothing is free is life. someone needs to pay for it or work for it to be produced. That mentality is exactly what is wrong with the country today. Demanding equal opportunity and a living wage fine absolutely, but demanding free this and that is laziness and privilege. Remember when jfk said ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. That mindset was honorable and demonstrated an attitude of can do and I will chip in for the good of all. Not gimme free

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Gabriela

I wonder if you all whom have commented showing YOUR true humanity or lack of it have the same energy for the Jan 6th folks!!! Sadly, I know that 90% of those who have made those comments here were all “They didn’t do nothing!” in response to that.
Just have some courage and say that you are racists. We already know. And don’t care. Keep Going Tiffany! So proud of you.

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Smh

Thanks for the input. 90%? You must be a mind reader. The majority of those who rioted the capital building are in jail or will be sentenced because they were tried and found guilty, just like the murderers, rapists, thieves and drug dealers in Rikers. Keep playing the race card and assume the problem is everyone else and not the criminals themselves. I wonder if the victims and their families of their crimes feel the same way.

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Monica

“They didn’t do anything”, proper English please. My name’s not Tiffany, and I’m not a racist.

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Johnny Cakes

I wonder if you would compare Jan 6 to September 11 or Pearl Harbor. Just admit that you loathe law abiding citizens

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Dan

Mayor SWAGG AND HIS SIDEKICK BRAGG are starting out ON THE WRONG FOOT THESE ARE CRIMINALS WHO COMMITTED CRIMES NOT VICTIMS. NO TEARS FOR CRIMINALS YOU GET WHAT YOU DESERVE JAIL.

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Tito

Free the detainees. Let them live with the people who protest for them. If they care for the criminals so much let them live with the criminals.

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Reese

It’s not prison dummy. It’s county jail. So innocent until proven guilty. This is inhumane and not acceptable.

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Debra

Criminals asking for mercy something that they didn’t provide to the people that they affected with their crimes. Our politicians above value more these criminals than the hard working people in this city.

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Support cruel and unusual punishment!

Agreed, there’s nothing in the US Constitution, which Republicans so dearly care for, that prevents cruel and unusual punishment. Once you commit a crime, the government should be allowed to do whatever it wants.

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Rami

The mayor is begging for office workers to come back to the office. Why does he not start a program where he can release inmates and give them “the academic skills to sit in a corner office” in Manhattan so they can help as he said “low-skilled workers” by buying bagels and donuts for breakfast and lunch.

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Juan

These inmates are in pain. Its a cry for help. Just like the story and video that went viral today of the good Samaritan who placed his own jacket on a sleeping homeless man in NYC during the cold and then was robbed and beaten by the homeless man. “Speaking in Korean, the victim — who did not want his identity used, said he had never seen the man before. But he noticed him sleeping on the street, shivering, wearing only a hoodie, and it was so cold he felt like he needed to help.” “A sympathetic Mayor Eric Adams said the victim did an “admirable” thing, but the mayor believes the homeless suspect is himself “in a painful place.” “When you see someone attack someone that helps them, that is a signal that people are in pain,” he said. “And we need to alleviate if not irradiate that pain that people are experiencing.”

https://abc7ny.com/homeless-assault-good-samaritan-midtown/11464264/

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Err... The good Samaritan

Got what comes when you approach a sleeping street person.

Whenever we would go on midnight runs we would get schooled in how to identify yourself to the homeless. We were specifically told NEVER to knock in boxes and other makeshift walls but to say MIDNIGHT RUN! Everyone knew what M R was so they weren’t alarmed.

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RT

A hunger strike LOL!!! A hunger strike means you refuse to eat anything. This is a “Boycott” of the prisons kitchen.

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lessons learned

Keep your shoulders back boys, pull up your pants and don’t commit a crime and I GUARNTEE you that you will never have to deal with the horrible conditions within rikers.

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