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Advocates and lawmakers stood at the foot of the bridge leading to Rikers Island Thursday and called for the city to respond to the requests of incarcerated people who held a hunger strike inside the jail this week.

Members of the Fortune Society, Freedom Agenda and Exodus Transitional Community joined City Councilmembers Shekar Krishnan, Gale Brewer and Carmen De La Rosa to call on the Department of Correction to meet the demands made by hunger striking detainees who say they’ve had enough of the deteriorating conditions in the jail complex.

“Rikers Island is the most urgent humanitarian and civil rights crisis of our city,” said Krishnan, who represents Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. “We stand together – [detainees’] demands are reasonable requests for the respect of basic human rights, access to medical and mental health care, access to recreational time, to make sure that they have access to a law library, to make sure they have access to their constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel.”

“The Department of Corrections must exceed the demands of all the hunger strikers right now, and all of those who are incarcerated in this complex,” the councilmember added.

It’s estimated that around 200 people housed in the Robert N. Davoren Center on Rikers Island engaged in the hunger strike, which a DOC spokesperson says has ended. Read more.

Black Star News
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Robert N. Davoren Center on Rikers Island
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