Activists hold protest to demand better conditions for imprisoned population

Protesters joined together Friday afternoon to speak out against what they say are the worsening conditions in the city’s jails.

News 12 Staff

Aug 20, 2021, 9:28 PM

Updated 978 days ago

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Protesters joined together Friday afternoon to speak out against what they say are the worsening conditions in the city’s jails.
Family members with incarcerated loved ones held a rally outside of the Horizon Juvenile Detention Center demanding their voices be heard and saying conditions must improve inside of city jails.
Emotions were high as protesters told the Department of Corrections that they must do better for the imprisoned population.
The organization called Eyes on You demanded access inside the DOC facilities to see themselves what they called the unsafe, disgusting, and inhumane conditions that they say have gotten worse during the pandemic.
"I've been a community organizer for the past 20 years, and so I've seen many young people, families destroyed by prisons like this. Many of the young people that I work with are directly impacted by the way they are treated inside these prisons," says Mustafa Sullivan, executive director of Fierce.
They also demanded the release of inmates over a dummy body that they said was symbolic of the deaths happening inside city facilities.
Jessica Rodriguez, whose family member is incarcerated at Rikers Island, said that these problems are systemwide.
"We decided we wanted to highlight here because the same conditions that happen in Rikers and in the other places like the boat, they happen here too and they take her people from here and place them into those facilities," Rodriguez explains. "So we wanted to highlight that and let people know that these things at the end people end up dying inside these facilities and no one cares.”
DOC responded that they are working hard to improve conditions for all staff and inmates at their facilities. In addition, ACS said that their system of care is grounded in best practices and designed to promote a safe, secure environment for youth and staff.
This rally caps a week of protest against city jails that started Monday when doctors and nurses protested outside of Rikers Island saying that it is now unsafe to do their jobs due to a shortage of staff.


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