'It's no longer safe': Nurses, doctors rally at Rikers Island for better prison staffing

A shortage of correction officers leave healthcare workers to fend for themselves.

News 12 Staff

Aug 16, 2021, 5:12 PM

Updated 1,014 days ago

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Nurses, doctors and physicians working at Rikers Island are rallying today saying they fear for their lives as they are assaulted and terrorized by prisoners.
Those at the rally say they are left to fend for themselves because of shortage of correction officers. Now, they are demanding the Department of Correction staff the prison properly. These front-line workers also say the New York City Health + Hospital systems has failed them when it comes to enforcing policies that keep them safe.
They say the lack of resources has an impact on the inmates because they don't receive proper treatment during the intake process.
"It's no longer safe," says Constance Clarke, a nurse at Rikers Island who has worked at the prison for decades. "It's like I go there, and I walk into a jungle and there's no king. There's no guidance. There's no structure and, you know, I walk in and I'm in a survival mode."
Another rally is happening at 3 p.m. Curtis Sliwa, Republican candidate for New York City mayor, is among several guests expected to speak. Health care workers will share their firsthand account of what goes on behind closed doors.
News 12 reached to the Department of Correction commissioner and received this statement: "The doctors, nurses and health care workers have behaved heroically during the pandemic, caring for incarcerated people, and helping us consistently keep COVID infection rates in our jails lower than that of the city. We support them."


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