Law \ Legal

Videos Reveal ‘Squalid’ Conditions at NYC’s Rikers Island Jail


Never-before-seen photos and videos from Rikers Island provide an unsettling look at the “squalid and deadly” conditions in which defendants are held inside the scandal-ridden jail, reports Matt Katz for The Gothamist. The images show a man defecating in his shorts due to a lack of toilets in the intake area and then being left in his soiled clothes for 11 hours; a detainee locked in a cage shower for nearly 24 hours before he injured himself; and incarcerated people dragging sick people to medical care, and even administering chest compressions themselves, because assigned officers weren’t present.

Defendants potentially face months, and sometimes years, waiting for court hearings in these conditions. However, the commissioner of the Department of Correction, Louis Molina, told The Gothamist in an email that the images are not a reflection of the continuous conditions defendants face, but rather points in time. Still, the images could provide fodder for potential legal filings seeking a federal takeover of the jails.

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