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 is such that [youthful inmates] control the jail,” a victim’s lawyer told Rayman. When inmates beat 21-year-old Tyreece Abney to death, one of them was convicted of the crime — but nothing changed, and in November Rayman reported on the death of 18-year-old Christopher Robinson by similar methods.
Yesterday three guards were charged with conspiracy in Robinson’s death. NY1, the Staten Island Advance, the New York Post and others have picked up the story, and the conspiracy behind it. “Correction Officers Accused of Letting Inmates Run Rikers Island Jail,” says the New York Times. “Three correction officers created a sadistic secret society,” says the Daily News.
Robinson’s mother Charnel told the News, “I feel like I’m one step closer to getting justice today.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 23, 2009