Saturday, August 27, 2011

riker's prisoners locked up and on their own...,

SolitaryWatch | “We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference this afternoon. Bloomberg annouced a host of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, including a shutdown of the public transit system and the unprecedented mandatory evacuation of some 250,000 people from low-lying areas. But in response to a reporter’s question, the mayor stated in no uncertain terms (and with more than a hint of annoyance) that one group of New Yorkers on vulnerable ground will be staying put.

New York City is surrounded by small islands and barrier beaches, and a glance at the city’s evacuation map reveals all of them to be in Zone A (already under a mandatory evacuation order) or Zone B–all, that is, save one. Rikers Island, which lies in the waters between Queens and the Bronx, is not highlighted at all, meaning it is not to be evacuated under any circumstances.

According to the New York City Department of Corrections’ own website, more than three-quarters of Rikers Island’s 400 acres are built on landfill–which is generally thought to be more vulnerable to natural disasters. Its ten jails have a capacity of close to 17,000 inmates, and normally house at least 12,000, including juveniles and large numbers of prisoners with mental illness–not to mention pre-trial detainees who have yet to be convicted of any crime. There are also hundreds of corrections officers at work on the island.

We were not able to reach anyone at the NYC DOC for comment–but the New York Times‘s City Room blog reported: “According to the city’s Department of Correction, no hypothetical evacuation plan for the roughly 12,000 inmates that the facility may house on a given day even exists. Contingencies do exist for smaller-scale relocations from one facility to another.”

For a warning of what can happen to prisoners in a hurricane we need only look back at Katrina, and the horrific conditions endured by inmates at Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans. According to a report produced by the ACLU: Fist tap Brotherbrown.

5 comments:

Big Don said...

American voters overwhelmingly support the death penalty...

Tom said...

The death penalty for suspects who haven't made bail?   For homeless mental patients who irritated the wrong yuppie?  For folks who got caught with some weed?

Big Don said...

Many red-blooded All-American totally-innocent boys-next-door have died in wars to protect our country.  Folks who can't keep their IQ-75 street-scum noses sufficiently clean to stay out of jail, regardless of whether they've been convicted yet (or plea-bargained felonies down to Jaywalking-4, as is most common) do not get any sympathy from BD...

Tom said...

If the flood waters were rising, Big Don, and I had to choose one or the other, I would put outspoken racists & other nazi-type agitators in locked submerging cells and bus people sitting in jail pre-trial over to jails on the mainland.  Or even release 'em.  I don't know anything about who gets arrested in NYC.  Could be that 70% of the people I released might steal someone's car stereo within a month.  I'm comfortable with that.

I think of the infamous British prison ships during the Revolution.I don't believe society should impose the death penalty for outspoken racist agitators.  Not at this time, I think the threat is not great enough for that yet.  I'm only saying you are an enormously greater threat to society than innocent poor people, petty thieves, prostitutes,  the mentally ill, etc.Accused murderers would be a tough call.   How many of 'em did it?  No idea.  Be safer to NOT DROWN THEM WITHOUT A FREAKING TRIAL, wouldn't it?

fredceely said...

Interesting readership here, certainly not a bunch of ditt0-heads.  Tom is right though, most of the people in Rikers' are not so terrible.  In my day, we called Rikers' "playing softball with the junkies."  They deserve more consideration than they seem to have gotten in this instance. 

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