Rikers Island

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2014

    Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island is Torture and "Inexcusably Extreme," Bronx Defenders Say

    Inmates are placed in solitary confinement at Rikers Island for "inexcusably extreme" amounts of time, a new report charges, "egregiously disproportionate" to the infractions they are alleged to have committed. While in solitary, it can be difficult for inmates to get access to the most basic of ser ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2014

    Three Rikers Guards Indicted for Smuggling Cocaine and Oxycodone Into the Jail

    The correctional officer-jail inmate relationship is often a fraught one, rife with resentment, misunderstandings and violence. But sometimes, just sometimes, the two groups can put aside their differences and work together. That's the silver lining we can take from the news that two current Rikers ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 17, 2014

    New York Post Reporter to Occupy Activist Cecily McMillan: "You Look Fabulous! But You Should Eat More."

    Occupy Wall Street activist and New School graduate student Cecily McMillan was back in Manhattan criminal court Thursday morning, just weeks after her release from Rikers Island, where she served two months after being convicted of assaulting a police officer. The 25-year-old McMillan still faces a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2014

    Cecily McMillan, Fresh out of Rikers Island: "The 99% Is Stronger Than Ever"

    At 5 o'clock this morning, graduate student and Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan was awakened by a guard in her bunk at Rikers, where she's spent a little more than two months after being convicted of assault on a police officer. McMillan had expected to be released today, but she antici ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 30, 2014

    Occupy Protester Cecily McMillan on Rikers: "In Some Ways, I'm Treated Better Than Anyone Else In Here, Which is Horrifying"

    After serving a little less than two months in jail, Occupy Wall Street protester and graduate student Cecily McMillan will be released from Rikers Island on Wednesday, July 2. As you might recall, the 25-year-old was found guilty in May of assaulting a police officer during a 2012 protest. She was ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 10, 2013

    Rikers Guard Sodomized Inmate with Flashlight, Says Complaint

    On November 24, 2012, Rikers Island correction officers pulled inmate Anthony Wallace, 26, out of a medication line for a search. The process began standard enough: strip down, bend over, spread cheeks. But then, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Bronx Supreme Court, the search took a hei ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 3, 2013

    Matthew Matagrano, the Man Who Snuck His Way Into Jail, Pleads Out

    Matthew Matagrano, a convicted sex offender who posed as a jails investigator to sneak into various Rikers Island facilities, pleaded guilty Wednesday and will be sentenced to 15 years in prison. And so ends one of the more bizarre sagas to cross the desk of Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 1, 2013

    Shocking Rikers Security Breach! Convicted Sex Offender Posing as Correction Staffer Roams Jails, No One Stops Him

    Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro has a major problem: a massive breach of jail security. The Voice has learned that a convicted sex offender with a long rap sheet was recently able to repeatedly drive onto Rikers Island and roam jails and other highly secure areas over a period of more than week ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2013

    Rikers Gets New Program to Help Folks Stay Out of Jail

    Okay folks, admittedly we're kind of hard on the Correction Department. We've published a bunch of articles about bad goings on out in the Rikers Island jails in recent years. But this time, we're going to throw some kudos to Commissioner Dora Schriro and Mayor Bloomberg for starting a new program t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2013

    Ronald Spear's Death At Rikers: A Host of Disturbing Questions Emerge

    On the afternoon of Dec. 19, Nellie Kelly's phone rang. The caller identified himself as an inmate on Rikers Island, and told her he had some bad news about her brother, Ronald Spear. The inmate's name was Jesse James. He was 29, and had been awaiting trial since September in the jail known as the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 16, 2012

    Robert Patterson, Federal Judge, Fines City 10 Grand For Failing to Turn Over Documents

    In an unusual move, a federal judge has fined the city $10,000 for failing to turn over documents in a lawsuit filed by a man who was badly beaten while being held in a Rikers Island jail. Ruling in the Kadeem John case, U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson sanctioned the city last week for repeate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 22, 2012

    Rikers Fight Club: The Ides of June Leave 5 Slashed in One Week

    The week of June 5 to June 12 was a pretty bad one out on Rikers Island. Records obtained by the Voice show there were at least 8 significant fights, 5 inmates suffered slash wounds, several inmates sustained serious injuries, and there were 5 uses of force by correction officers. The worst of the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 4, 2012

    More Details on Suicide and Slashing at Rikers

    The Voice has more details about the man who committed suicide on Rikers, a case that we first reported on Friday. His name is Jamal Polo, age 24. Polo was being held at Rikers on a charge of felony sodomy and forcible touching. Polo hung himself at the George Motchan Detention Center where he was ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 1, 2012

    Rikers Fight Club: Spate of Violence Roils Jails

    A spate of violence and death hit the city jails over the past five days, including three slashings and a suicide, the Voice has learned. One of the slashings took place in the Robert N. Davoren Center, which houses teen inmates, and was the subject of a recent Voice article on violence.

  • Blogs

    May 9, 2012

    This Week in the Voice: Rikers Violence, Out of Control

    This week in the Voice, out today: Graham Rayman has obtained photos of Rikers inmates with severe knife wounds and beatings to the face, neck, and arms, writing: "Four years ago, the Voice first wrote about the violence at Rikers, which was not only condoned but also promoted by jail officials in a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 10, 2012

    Rikers Island Inmate Badly Beaten While Handcuffed for Protesting When Guards Denied Him a Baloney Sandwich

    From the depths of Rikers Island comes an appalling case of alleged jailhouse brutality, involving correction officers beating a handcuffed inmate within an inch of his life for protesting after he was denied a baloney sandwich, the Voice has learned. The April 3 assault on 26-year-old Robert Hinto ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2011

    Q&A: Tragedy Khadafi On Growing Up In Queensbridge, How Jail Has Changed, And Reaching The Kids In The Projects

    Tragedy Khadafi is one of the last of a dying breed. Lucky for us, he dies harder than Bruce Willis. Even at 14, he was putting out music—most notably a song with DJ Hot Day called "Go Queensbridge" that caught the attention of Juice Crew leader Marley Marl, who put the young Tragedy down with ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 25, 2011

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn Moving to Undisclosed New Location

    ​Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the IMF accused of the sexual assault of a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York, is reportedly moving from the temporary apartment building at 71 Broadway where he'd been staying since he was released from Rikers on Friday. While Justice ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 12, 2010

    Week In Review: We Also Accept Your Future Apology In Advance

    Everybody just stop yelling, OK? Photo by Daniel Snyder.​In the week we talked about Odd Future, kidnapping and murder, and why we sometimes like the things that repel us, we also saw the group live--alongside every other music critic in the city. They struck a weird balance to the other big r ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 4, 2010

    Lil Wayne Is Officially A Free Man

    And like that, the rapper most loved by former and current United States presidents is finally out of jail, eight months after he went into Rikers on felony gun charges. "You guys waiting for that jackass?" a Rikers guard asked the Rolling Stone reporter that had staked out the jail this morning. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 16, 2010

    Pervy Rabbi Tricks Traif With Kosher Prison Meals

    ​Feels like the New York Post missed a great headline in this one: a Rabbi housed on Rikers Island stopped eating not because he wasn't being served Kosher meals, but because the meals weren't certified by a Rabbi of his choice...

  • Blogs

    June 11, 2010

    Week in Review: Sign of Victory

    One of these dudes is noticeably less enthusiastic than all the other dudes. Photo by Nate "Igor" Smith​In the week we interviewed an actual fitness instructor about the theoretical plausibility of exercising to Sleigh Bells, we also penned a Twitter-based ode to Erykah Badu's habitual latenes ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 9, 2010

    Lil Wayne: The Rikers Island Prison Rap

    The heartbreaking genesis of this song? Lil Wayne heard his protégé Drake's collaboration with Jay-Z, "Light Up," over the radio in his cell in Rikers, where he's serving a year and day on weapons charges. Once the center of the rap universe, Wayne was left a spectator. But not for long--a day l ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 12, 2010

    Gucci Mane Is A Free Man

    ​Even as fellow famous incarcerated rapper Lil Wayne faces disciplinary action today at Rikers for violating prison rules regarding possession of unauthorized electronics, Atlanta's Gucci Mane strolled out the front door of Georgia's Fulton County Jail this morning, a free man. Outside the jai ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 11, 2010

    Breaking: Lil Wayne Caught With Unauthorized Electronics in His Jail Cell [Updated]

    ​Corrections sources are telling the Voice that rapper Lil Wayne was caught today at Rikers in possession of "unauthorized earphones and a charger" during a search. An investigation is underway to find the missing device (almost certainly an iPod or other kind of MP3 player) that goes with the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2010

    Sharon Jones On Her Rikers Island Prison Guard Days: "If Another Inmate Had Sang That Song To Me, I'd Have Punched Him In The Face"

    ​Try and guess which song she's talking about. Fun eMusic Jukebox Jury piece by Michaelangelo Matos (they sit in her car, he plays a bunch of tunes, she sassily free-associates), particularly when they get into her oft-discussed stint as a Rikers guard:

  • Blogs

    March 29, 2010

    The Morning Ink: Monday, March 29th, 2010

    ​So starts our morning news roundup. Today: the housing law in New York you're probably breaking right now. The hot ticket that is President Obama's Passover Seder. Lindsay Lohan's yayo "uh oh," a riot at Rikers, Christian Militia madmen, and more. Here's what's in the news this morning:

  • Blogs

    March 2, 2010

    Lil Wayne Goes to Jail Today, But At Least We Have This Young Money "Roger That" Video to Remember Him By

    Here is the first of a reported nine videos Lil Wayne shot in front of various green screens before reporting to Rikers today. This time, they opted for a comic strip treatment--fitting for not just Wayne but Nicki Minaj, who is basically a walking comic book character anyway. A Rikers guard fille ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 20, 2009

    Starbucks Bombing Kid's Facebook Friends Talk About Fight Club, Sentencing

    Acquaintances and schoolmates of arrested Starbucks bomber Kyle Shaw are conversing about him under a link to a Daily News article about the Fight Club-loving teen. The link to the article "Teen 'Fight Club' devotee and suspected Starbucks bomber Kyle Shaw roughed up at Rikers Island" was posted on ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 3, 2009

    Rikers Boss Steps Down -- After 2-Year Voice Series

    City Correction and Probation Commissioner Martin Horn, one of Mayor Bloomberg's longest serving appointees, announced his resignation today. He's leaving a jail system that for the last two years has been the subject of Voice stories about corrections officers condoning and even arranging violence ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 4, 2009

    Rikers Inmate Dies of Trauma; Investigation Pending

    If you followed Graham Rayman's series on suspicious (and sometimes fatal) beatdowns at Rikers Island, this story may interest you: a 60-year-old detained there for a Queens burglary has died after an altercation with guards. Clarence (or Clarnice) Mobley, "behaving erratically," assaulted a guard w ... More >>

  • News

    April 15, 2009

    Rikers Fight Club: The Knockout Punch

    Documents show that top officials in the city's jail system were regularly briefed on violence and extortion between teen inmates.

  • Blogs

    February 12, 2009

    Rikers Fight Club: More Widespread Then The City Admits

    Even as indictments came down for two jail guards accused of using teen inmates as enforcers, Correction Department officials sought to downplay the breadth of the problem.The indictments last month followed the October murder of teenager Christopher Robinson in the Rikers Island jail for young offe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 9, 2009

    Jail Guard Union Throws Party for Indicted Guards

       Last Friday, the Voice has learned, the union for correction officers held a 10-hour fundraiser to benefit three members who were indicted two weeks ago for deputizing teen inmates as enforcers in a Rikers Island jail.     In the fallout that has followed the murder of te ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 4, 2009

    This Week in the Voice

    Graham Rayman has been following the "Fight Club" cooked up by Rikers Island guards for a couple of years, and the Bronx D.A. has started dishing out charges. Inmates used and rewarded as enforcers, beatings arranged so as not to leave marks, victims intimidated into silence (and a few killed) -- th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 23, 2009

    More Coverage of Rikers Island "Fight Club" First Covered Here

    In July 2007 Graham Rayman revealed in the Voice that guards at Rikers were deputizing inmates "to beat up other inmates," sometimes paying them with cigarettes, and that internal reports were played off and at least one whistleblower fired. "Young people tell me when they go in there, the culture i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 22, 2009

    3 Arrests in Inmate Killing Probed by Voice

    You've seen the stories Voice reporter Graham Rayman has been writing about the October killing of Christopher Robinson on Rikers Island -- how the 18-year-old inmate was beaten to death under peculiar circumstances and how, after Rayman's continued probing, first one and then several Corrections ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 1, 2008

    More Heads Roll in Wake of Rikers Jail Murder

    Remember in Goodfellas when Robert De Niro's character, Jimmy Conway, whacks everyone who can tie him to the Lufthansa heist? Correction Commissioner Martin Horn seems to be doing something similar — if only on a bureaucratic level — in the wake of the recent murder of a teenager in a R ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 26, 2008

    Rikers Death Forces Out High Jail Official

    In the widening fallout from last month's murder of a teenager on Rikers Island, Correction Commissioner Martin Horn has forced the early retirement of one of the highest-ranking officials in the department. Assistant Chief Lionel Lorquet was in charge of seven jails, including the Robert N. Davore ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2008

    Midday Mash-Up: Dolls, Death, Drunk, etc.

    New York Dolls live album debuts; band will appear on Craig Ferguson October 29, allowing fans to recreate the old Mercer Arts feeling of being part of a small group watching. An 18-year-old parole violator was beaten to death last weekend at Rikers; mother complains to the Daily News that correcti ... More >>

  • News

    March 4, 2008

    Drug Counselor at Rikers Gets Busted for . . . Dope

    Months after selling coke to an undercover, cops find him with 100 packets of 'Black Gold'

  • Blogs

    February 28, 2008

    Correction Official: No Indication Counselor Brought Drugs to Rikers

    A Voice story posted online on Wednesday about a Rikers Island drug counselor busted for selling heroin and cocaine brought a strong reaction late Thursday from a Correction Department spokesman who sharply objected to any characterization that Correction officials were in any way indifferent to smu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 27, 2008

    Top Rikers Drug Counselor Busted for Selling Heroin and Cocaine

    UPDATE: Read the Correction Department's response to this story here. A top official in a city-funded drug treatment program at the Rikers Island jail complex has been charged with…wait for it...selling cocaine and heroin. Until he was unceremoniously removed from his office earlier th ... More >>

  • Music

    October 30, 2007

    Shooting Star

    Taking aim at Remy Ma

  • News

    May 15, 2001

    The Education of a Juror

    The Woman Who Bailed Out a Drug Defendant Tells Her Story

  • Specials

    January 16, 2001
  • Specials

    December 26, 2000
  • Specials

    August 15, 2000
  • Art

    August 1, 2000

    Prisoner's Dilemma

    Learning the Hard Way at Rikers

  • News

    July 11, 2000

    Jailhouse Rock

    A Christian Road Show Comes to Rikers

  • More >>