Rikers Island is starting to live up to it's nickname of "torture island" after a federal monitor expressed "grave concern" about the penitentiary.
How goes New York’s endeavor to close “Torture Island,” the nickname for Rikers Island? Nearly two years ago, in exulting over his plan to build four new jails in every borough except Staten Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio boasted, “They said it couldn’t be done until it was done.” Well, it’s not done — and there’s no path to getting it done.
Last week, the federal monitor overseeing existing jails confirmed that Rikers really is Torture Island. The monitor, imposed six years ago after a suit by inmates, expressed “grave concern” about “pervasive high levels of disorder and chaos.” Four inmates have killed themselves since last December.
A single incident — one inmate severely burning another — provoked “multiple applications of force and multiple serious injuries to no less than four detainees and multiple officers,” the monitor said.
Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images