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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.

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12 Comments

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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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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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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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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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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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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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