New York Senator Jessica Ramos says she witnessed a man try to hang himself during a tour of the state’s infamous Rikers Island jail
A group of elected officials that toured Rikers Island called it a ‘horror house of abuse and neglect,’ with one politician recounting witnessing an attempted suicide at New York City’s main jail complex.
New York Senator Jessica Ramos emerged from the Otis Bantum Correctional Center (OBCC) with a scathing account of its inner workings.
‘I can’t begin to tell you the deplorable conditions we saw inside OBCC,’ she told reporters. ‘In one of the intake rooms, there are at least one dozen men – per cell.
‘The conditions are so extreme that Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas and I witnessed somebody trying to attempting to commit suicide.’
The infamous institution is littered with ‘guck,’ dead cockroaches, fecal matter, and rotting food, she said when describing the ‘deplorable’ conditions.
Other human rights infractions included a transgender woman locked up with men, an HIV positive man being denied his medication, diabetics being denied insulin, and employees working back-to-back 24-hour shifts, politicians said.
‘It’s inhumane for everyone here,’ González-Rojas told reporters. ‘People were telling me, “I feel like a slave. I feel like an animal. I’m treated like an animal.”’
Officials who toured Rikers Island said jail floors were covered with ‘guck,’ including feces
The delegation that toured the chaotic jail is calling for the release of prisoners, an end to cash bail, and the signing of New York’s Less is More act, which would spare parolees from being shipped back to jail for technical violations.
The bill has been passed by the New York state senate and assembly, but must be signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.
The infamous institution is mired by controversy.
A corrections officer was brutally attacked by an inmate at Rikers Island on August 30. The officer fractured his skull and received 20 stitches (pictured)
On August 30, a Rikers Island correction officer was left with a fractured skull after being viciously beaten by an inmate – who later said ‘voices’ in his head told him to carry out the attack,
A criminal complaint filed alleged that the inmate knocked the officer to the ground while pummeling him with his fists before stomping on his head and stealing the guard’s pepper spray, according to The New York Post.
A day earlier, a series of videos from Rikers Island captured violent scenes of inmates attacking prison guards – including one incident where one officer could not stand up after being brutally kicked and stomped on.
Capt. Nauvella Lacroix stands at a Rikers Island facility with his shirt covered in human waste
In July, a Rikers Island jail captain was making his nightly rounds when an inmate with a history of attacks and escape attempts hurled his feces at him.
Captain Nauvella Lacroix, who’s spent nearly nine years with the Department of Corrections in New York City, was struck in the face and torso area, leaving his uniform covered in human waste.
A photo shows him standing at a jail facility with his shirt smothered in human waste.
New York Assemblymember Emily Gallagher described Rikers Island as a ‘house of horror’
New York Assemblymember Emily Gallagher was part of the delegation that exercised its legal right to inspect the correctional facility.
‘What I witnessed was a humanitarian crisis,’ Gallagher tweeted. ‘A horror house of abuse and neglect. I’ll share more soon but for now my message is simple: decarcerate.’
Alice L. Fontier, managing director of Neighborhood Defender Service, said the city is ignoring the prisoners.
Advocates are calling on New York Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the Less is More act into law
Fontier recalled during her most recent tour of the facility seeing people packed in intake cells for weeks, without access to a phone or their attorneys.
A two-by-six foot shower is being used as a segregated intake unit, she said, and prisoners are given a plastic bag to use as a toilet.
The lawyer, who has been coming to the jail since 2008, said the current situation is unlike anything she’s ever seen.
Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas (left) and attorney Alice L. Fontier (right), who toured Rikers Monday, are calling on the facility to be shut after witnessing its ‘horrific’ conditions
Fontier, a defence lawyer, called on officials to close the facility down.
‘This is the most horrific thing I have ever seen in my life,’ Fontier told reporters. ‘This is unlike anything that has ever happened here. This just cannot be.’
The New York Department of Correction did not immediately respond to a Mailonline.com request for comment.