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01.23.15 Prachi Gupta

A report by the New York State Commission of Correction has urged the Justice Department to investigate possible civil rights violations in the death of a Rikers inmate, which resulted from “gross incompetence,” reports the New York Times. It is the latest damning report in a series that have, over the past six months, detailed […]

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01.13.15 Rhett Jones

In a unanimous decision of 7-0, the New York City Board of Corrections has approved a policy change to end solitary confinement for inmates ages 21 and under. This comes on the heels of the decision to end the practice for 16 and 17-year-old inmates back in September. Prior to Tuesday’s decision, the De Blasio administration had […]

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11.24.14 Prachi Gupta

Puma sneakers — once a hot, kill-for commodity inside the walls of Rikers — are now so bland that they’re the only footwear allowed into the jail from the outside world. Ratter writer Justine Sharrock chronicled the 180-degree shift in attitude, and presents some theories for how it happened. In the ’80s, Pumas were the […]

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11.21.14 Prachi Gupta

Mayor Bill de Blasio has realized just how messed up things are at Rikers Island, and has vowed to make prison reform “a top priority,” reports the New York Times. De Blasio, speaking at a news conference on Thursday, remarked that prisoners released from Rikers exit “more broken than when they came in,” and concluded […]

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09.18.14 Sophie Weiner

Of the 2.3 million Americans currently confined to the U.S. prison system, most of them barely have access to phones or the internet. But former inmate Frederick Hutson thought up a way to give convicts and their families the ability to use internet-like services while he was serving time for a weed offense. His website, Pigeon.ly, provides a […]

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08.18.14 Marina Galperina

Andy Henriquez died in his solitary confinement cell from a torn aorta, in severe pain, while guards ignored his and other inmates’ cries for help, DNAinfo reports.  After a shocking report detailing institutionalized abuse, rights violations, a “culture of violence” and frequent medical emergencies experienced by young inmates at Rikers Island, other cases of systemic corruption are being brought to light, […]

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08.04.14 Marina Galperina

ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original “idea sketch” next to a finished artwork or project. This week, we’re excited to premiere the trailer for “Pig Movie” by sound artist Kate Levitt and video artist Miles Pflanz. The film was written by the prisoners of the Lincoln Correctional Facility.  In spring of 2014, we were […]

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07.14.14 Sophie Weiner

Earlier this year, we noted that mentally ill people at Rikers Island would no longer be put in solitary confinement. Today, the New York Times exposed a massive culture of violence at the jail complex, largely directed at the mentally ill. The article details hideous abuses. There were several incidents of multiple guards ganging up against one prisoner […]

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06.06.14 Sophie Weiner

Today, season two of the critically acclaimed Netflix show Orange Is The New Black is available to stream in full online. To coincide with this date, activist groups have launched a campaign to highlight the real life problems at some of the prisons where the show filmed. One of these is Suffolk County Jail, in Riverhead, Long […]

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05.20.14 Sophie Weiner

We wrote a few weeks ago about an eerily dystopian fake town in the UK where riot police carry out simulated confrontations, complete with fake molotov cocktails. It turns out something quite similar happens here in the U.S., at a prison in West Virgina. Al Jazeera America‘s Evan Hill reported from the Mock Prison Riot, […]

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