NYC’s Rikers Island Jail Spirals Into Chaos Amid Pandemic

FILE - In this March 16, 2011 file photo, a corrections official watches inmates file out of a prison bakery after working the morning shift at the Rikers Island jail in New York. New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex, troubled by years of neglect, has spiraled into turmoil during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

(AP) — New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex has been troubled by years of neglect and now has spiraled into turmoil during the coronavirus pandemic. One jail watchdog calls it “a complete breakdown in the operation of the jails.”

The growing crisis was brought to light in recent weeks by advocates, news reports and a federal monitor. It has sent officials scrambling for remedies amid long-held plans to close Rikers by 2026.

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week unveiled reforms that includes suspending for 30 days jail guards who refuse to come to work. Advocates, lawmakers and the guards union say more is needed.


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