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Gotham Gazette

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  • Inmate Bill of Rights Among New Wave of Rikers Reforms

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    Mayor de Blasio at Rikers Island (photo: Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Council passed eight bills last week in an effort to mandate greater transparency into and oversight of the Department of Correction and to reduce violence within the city's jails. All are expected to soon be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, with the package part of ongoing reforms aimed at changing the culture at Rikers Island and other jail facilities run by the city.

    One of the bills (...

  • Proposed Rikers Visitation Rules Stir Debate

    Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition

    Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition (photos: Meg O'Connor) 


    On Tuesday, City Council members, faith leaders, and activists spoke out against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed restrictions for visitors to Rikers Island jails. At a rally on the steps of City Hall organized by the Jails Action Coalition, speakers called de Blasio’s plan to limit visitors and physical contact by those who do visit inmates counterproductive and wrong.

    The proposed visitation limits were first

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  • Prison Escape Allows Critics to Attack Cuomo on Prior Source of Strength

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    Cuomo at a prison escape briefing (photos via Governor's Office on flickr)


    Richard Matt, one of the two men involved in a daring and complex escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility, is dead, shot by officers after he refused to be taken alive. The other, David Sweat, was captured and returned to a maximum security prison after being shot twice. The high drama, which played out across national media, is apparently at an end. But investigations of the prison have begun, prison employees are

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  • Reforming Solitary Confinement At The City's Biggest Psych Ward — Rikers Island

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    NEW YORK — After about three days of being isolated in “the Box” away from his fellow detainees at Rikers Island, Ismael Nazario was beginning to break.

    "That's when it started to take it's toll,” he said, conjuring memories of his time in punitive segregation — solitary confinement — in

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