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New Images Reveal Shocking Conditions in New York’s Rikers Island Jail

HeadlineSep 29, 2022

Here in New York City, never-before-seen images show people incarcerated in the notorious Rikers Island jail locked in caged showers and sleeping next to a pile of feces. The pictures were obtained by the news outlet Gothamist after the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office requested them while investigating the consequences for people held at Rikers as they await trial, sometimes for months or years.

This comes as the Texas Jail Project has documented severe overcrowding at the Harris County Jail in Houston, which has surpassed Rikers with 19 custody deaths in the first eight months of 2022 — more than the total number of people who died in the jail in nine of the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, a federal court judge has ordered Los Angeles County to fix its massive backup and address squalid conditions in the jail’s overcrowded Inmate Reception Center after revelations of horrific treatment, and ruled that officers are now barred from chaining anyone to a chair for more than four hours, after some had been found to be chained for days.

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