NYC’s Rikers Island jail gets a kid-friendly visitation room ahead of Mother’s Day

The jail opened the new preschool play and learning room for the children and grandchildren of female prisoners Tuesday, a few days ahead of the Sunday holiday.

Associated Press

May 11, 2024, 11:44 PM

Updated 7 days ago

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 NYC’s Rikers Island jail gets a kid-friendly visitation room ahead of Mother’s Day
It’s probably the last place a mom wants to spend Mother’s Day with her kids. But a family visiting space at New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex is a little more kid-friendly after a colorful redesign by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.
The jail opened the new preschool play and learning room for the children and grandchildren of female prisoners Tuesday, a few days ahead of the Sunday holiday.
“Mother’s Day means everything to me,” said Rikers inmate Nadine Leach, 43, as she watched her three-year-old granddaughter, Queen, excitedly explore the sound machines, coloring books and toys.
One interactive wall display shows a map of the city’s five boroughs. Buttons below trigger city sounds, like the screech of a subway.
Leach’s daughter Lashawna Jones, 27, said the play installation is beautiful compared with her last visit. Before, it was a mostly bare room, with a few books. Jones said the design focused her children’s attention on imaginative play, instead of their grandmother being in jail and awaiting trial on a felony drug charge.
“It makes me sad that she’s not actually home with us for Mother’s Day. Because I feel like a little sad coming here to visit her here because I’m used to having her physically home with us. Like, right now, I’m being a big girl; I’m holding my tears back,” Jones said.


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