Recurring Nightmares on Rikers Island

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The first jail on Rikers Island opened in 1932, and the complex has since expanded to include ten jails holding thousands of inmates every day. Violence among Rikers inmates is common, and there are accusations of mistreatment, neglect, and abuse by correction officers and the facility’s administrators. Despite promises by city and state officials to reform Rikers, this year alone twelve people held there have died—two in the past week and at least five by suicide. Jennifer Gonnerman joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the history of Rikers, why this year is proving particularly deadly, and what the detention center reveals about the incarceration system in the U.S. today.

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