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Where New York dumps its trash: Rikers Island has vexed politicians for generations

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Some reading for Mayor de Blasio as he’s finally been shamed into making a trip to Rikers Island this coming week, his first in more than four years, to see for himself the poor, nasty and brutish conditions there after an inmate tried to kill himself in front of state lawmakers who he tried to stop from visiting and 13 Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation called on the Biden administration to do more since “the city cannot be trusted,” and a federal monitor questioned whether the Correction Department’s “leadership possess the level of competency to safely manage” the jail.

“Prisoners will have the privilege…of serving their time in the finest and most up-to-date penitentiary in the United States” the Daily News reported in 1928, under the headline “Rikers Island Prison To Be Model for U.S.” once it replaced the out-of-date and run-down jail on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island).

A “Crime Clinic to Reclaim Prisoners, Not Punish, Is Planned In New York” read a headline in 1929. “The first of its kind in any country, the hope is that the city that leads the nation in population may also lead in crime reduction and humane and scientific treatment of the criminal (by)........

© NY Daily News

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