RIKERS: An American Jail
Bill Moyers PBS 8-21-2017
The United States is facing a crisis of mass incarceration with over 2.2 million people packed into its jails and prisons. To understand the human toll of this crisis, Rikers Island is a good place to start. Of the more than 7,500 people detained at Rikers Island on any given day, almost 80 percent have not yet been found guilty or innocent of the charges they face.
All are at risk in the pervasive culture of violence that forces people to come to terms with what they must do for their own survival. RIKERS: An American Jail, a riveting new documentary from Bill Moyers, brings you face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told directly to camera, vividly describe the cruel arc of the Rikers experience — from the shock of entry to the extortion and control exercised by other inmates, the oppressive interaction with corrections officers, the beatings and stabbings, the torture of solitary confinement and the many challenges of returning to the outside world.
Since the initial release of RIKERS last fall, there has been widespread discussion and debate about the future of the prison complex. In April 2017, The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform released its recommendations and called for closing Rikers and replacing it with smaller jails in the city’s five boroughs.
Just prior to the report’s release New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed his prior position that closing Rikers Island Jail was not feasible and announced his support for closing Rikers, but said it will take a decade to do so.
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Please be sure to visit the official RIKERS website for more information about the film, mass incarceration in America and efforts at criminal justice reform. Also, please like @RIKERSfilm on Facebook and follow @RIKERSfilm on Twitter to get the latest information and contribute to the already robust online community talking about the film.
RIKERS, which recently won a 2017 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award, is a production of Schumann Media Center, Inc. and Brick City TV LLC, in association with Public Square Media, Inc. Produced by Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, with producer Rolake Bamgbose. Edited by Jason Pollard. Director of Photography Mark Benjamin. Executive Producer, Judy Doctoroff O’Neill. Executive Editor, Bill Moyers.
Prison Food Is Making U.S. Inmates Disproportionately Sick: The Atlantic: Joe Fassler & Claire Brown 12-27-2017
Lapses in food safety have made U.S. prisoners six times more likely to get a food borne illness than the general population.
This won’t surprise anyone: The food served in correctional institutions is generally not very good. Even though most Americans have never tasted a meal dished up in a correctional kitchen, occasional secondhand glimpses tend to reinforce a common belief that “prison food” is scant, joyless, and unsavory—if not even worse.
Atheists file discrimination complaint against Wyoming Department of Corrections
December 20, 2017 - Hemant Hehta
While people of faith are allowed to gather, study, and discuss their views, the atheists aren’t given the same opportunity (despite requesting it). That’s because the Department doesn’t even recognize “Humanism” as a valid “Faith Group.”
Article: The Big Business of Prisoner Care Packages: Vox New/ The Marshall Project - December 21st, 2017
The big business of prisoner care packages
Vox News by Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge | Dec 21, 2017
It’s the holiday season, but many incarcerated Americans won’t get presents directly from home.
To stop drugs and weapons from entering jails and prisons, many corrections agencies bar family members from mailing packages or bringing them during visits. Those who want to send food, clothing, and other gifts to incarcerated relatives — at any time of year — often must go through private vendors.
Read the full story
Prison Writing and the American Will
By Andrea Jones
In the midst of the California prison system’s crackdown on dissent, inmates across the country lack the crucial tool: freedom of expression.
As prisoners in California entered the tenth day of statewide hunger strikes staged in opposition to the long-term solitary confinement policies of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), news broke that administrators were countering activism with reprisal.
Read more from the Angolite - A prison magazine
Written Inside: Stories About Prison Cells From WBEZ
Written Inside is a podcast about life inside a maximum-security prison cell. Adapted from essays written at Stateville Correctional Center near Chicago, these intimate stories speak to the everyday experience of being incarcerated. Each inmate's story is voiced by a Chicago actor. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago.
Listen to the 8 episodes
Kenneth Foster, Jr., became a writer on death row. When he was nineteen, he drove three friends to two armed robberies in San Antonio, Texas; late that night, one of the friends shot and killed a man. Foster was in the car, approximately eighty feet away, but, under the Texas Law of Parties, he was convicted, in 1996, of capital murder. (Foster, like more than a third of the prisoners executed in Texas, is African-American.) He started writing a few years later, after he watched correctional officers forcibly remove a prisoner from his cell. “This man was gassed, wrestled down, cuffed and dragged to his fate,” he told me recently, in a letter. The prisoner was executed by lethal injection, and Foster began to grasp that, one day, the same thing would happen to him. He needed to share what he saw and felt. “I have written with everything from pen, typewriter, marker, to my own blood,” he explained. “I have written on tables, floors, on walls when I only had a crack of light, in the dark, under blinding lights.” ...
Meet the Creators of the New Podcast From Inside San Quentin Prison
The inmate-produced show will tell intimate stories of daily life behind bars.
“Ear Hustle” — the phrase is slang for eavesdropping — is a collaboration between Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, both prisoners at San Quentin, and Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist who teaches photography classes at the prison. Williams, 29, has served more than 10 years on a 15-year sentence for armed robbery. Woods, 45, has served more than 19 years of a 31-years–to-life sentence for attempted second-degree robbery. Their chemistry is one of the best parts of the show: the three share a deep rapport that is at times funny, frank, and raw.
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What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive