Rikers Island is located between the Burroughs of Queens and Bronx near the LaGuardia Airport. The island is named after Abraham Rycken, a Dutch settler, who settled on this island in 1638, and the island remained in the ownership of his descendants until 1884. New York City purchased this island in 1884 for $180,000, and it is used for the Rikers Jail since then. The Rikers Jail complex comprises ten jails holding the accused who are awaiting trial. Rikers Jail is distinguished from a prison as the prisons hold the offenders serving long terms. Of the ten jails of Rikers, the North Infirmary Command accommodates the inmates in need of medical attention while the West Facility is meant for those suffering from contagious diseases. Gay housing is a segregated unit, and it is meant for pre-trial detention of the LGBT prisoners. Adolescents are also accommodated separately. Other facilities of the Rikers Jail complex include: Otis Correctional Center, George Mochan Detention Center, George R. Vierno Center, Eric M. Taylor Center, George R.Vierno Center, and Robert N. Daveron Center. The average inmate population of Rikers Island is 20,000.
1. Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France on April 25, 1949. He became the managing director of the IMF, International Monetary Fund, on September 28, 2007. In 2008, the IMF board conducted an inquiry following his alleged affair with his subordinate Piroska Nagy and concluded that the affair was ‘regrettable and reflected a serious error of judgment on the part of the managing director.’ Strauss-Kahn issued a public apology. He resigned from the IMF after being arrested by the New York Police Department on May 15, 2011, on allegations of sexual assault. He was confined in a 3×4 meters cell at the Rikers West Facility, which is usually used for the inmates suffering from contagious diseases or celebrities to protect them from any possible aggression by inmates.
2. Guy John Velella
Guy John Velella was born in East Harlem in the neighborhood of Manhattan, U.S. on September 25, 1944 and died of cancer at Cavalry Hospital in the Bronx on January 27, 2011. For more than 30 years, he was a Republican New York State Senator from the Bronx. He was indicted in 2002 for allegedly accepting $137,000 in bribes for awarding public contracts. He pled guilty to one count and was sentenced to one year’s incarceration. He also had to resign his seat in the State Senate as well as to resign from the chairmanship of the Bronx County Republican Party. His law license was canceled. He served six months in the Rikers Jail in two separate terms.
3. Matthew Matagrano
New York’s resident Matthew Matagrano had been an inmate of the Rikers Jail on account of sexual abuse and sodomy in 1996. He was again imprisoned for unlawful entry into a school and searching students’ records in the guise of an education board official. Having spent time in Rikers Jail on the charges of fraud, he made an unlawful entry into the Rikers Jail under the guise of being a security official. He used a gold seal to enter the jail and spent more than seven hours with the inmates. The video recordings showed him smoking and chatting openly with the jail inmates. It is very common that people are afraid of even thinking about Rikers Jail after their release. It is notable that for Matagrano the jail served as an attractant and not as a repellent,as is usually the case.
4. Lil Wayne
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., better known as Lil Wayne, was born in Hollygrove, Louisiana on September 27, 1982. He is a famous American hip-hop recording artist. His 1999 debut album Tha Block is Hot was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The New York Police arrested him on July 22, 2007 for the illegal possession of a weapon and marijuana. He pled guilty and was sentenced to a year imprisonment in the Rikers Jail. He was released from the Rikers Jail on November 4, 2010. Responding to a question in an interview, President Bill Clinton commented about him saying, ‘I hope ‘¦ that it will never happen again to him.’
5. Jayson Williams
Jayson Williams was born in Ritter, South Carolina, U.S. on February 22, 1968. He is a famous, former professional National Basketball Association player. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets. He served eight months’ imprisonment at Rikers Jail on account of drunk driving. When arrested, his blood alcohol level was 0.24 which is three times the legal limit. According to police, being under the influence of alcohol, he struck his car into a tree in New York in January, 2010. He pled guilty to aggravated assault on January 11, 2010; therefore, he was sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment. He was moved to Rikers Jail on April 19, 2011 and released from there on April 13, 2012.
6. Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins was born in New York City, New York on September 7, 1930. He received his early education at Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. He was inspired by Frank Sinatra. He is one of the most influential jazz musicians, and many of his compositions including: ‘S. Thompson, Oleo, and Doxy’ have become jazz standards. He was elected to the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1973. His album This Is What I Do won him a Grammy Award in 2004. Rollins was arrested in 1950 on charges of armed robbery and was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment. He spent ten months in Rikers Jail and was released in 1952.
7. Foxy Brown
Inga DeCarlo Fung Marchand, better known as her stage name Foxy Brown, was born in New York City, New York, on September 6, 1979. Her album Chyna Doll was certified platinum, and her album The Firm was a Billboard #1. Foxy has an extraordinary history of legal troubles which included: attack on workers, use of inappropriate language on stage, driving without a license, quarreling with police, and assault on two manicurists. Judge Melissa Jackson sentenced her to one year in jail which she spent at Rikers. She received excellent treatment at Rikers Jail, and her being a celebrity was kept under consideration throughout her stay at the jail.
8. Mark David Chapman
Mark David Chapman was born in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. on May 10, 1955. He received his early education at Columbia High School in Decatur, GA. He also attended South De Kalb Community College in Decatur. He was convicted of the shooting death of John Lennon in the Dakota Apartments in New York. During the cold-blooded murder, Chapman shot the victim five times in his back and hitting him four times. He remained at the site reading a novel until the police arrived and arrested him. Chapman is one of the most known inmates of Rikers Jail. Larry King interviewed him on December 17, 1992.
9. Plaxico Burress
The famous football star Plaxico Burress, while drinking in the Latin Quarter nightclub, accidentally shot himself in the thigh with his own weapon. He pled guilty for this self-inflicted injury and was sentenced to two years imprisonment at Rikers Jail. The inmates yelled at him while he was trying to keep himself composed behind bars. He was kept in isolation in a separate cell for security purposes. He was allowed three hours daily as recreation time and was also allowed one visitor per week. He was allowed three showers a week.
10. Anna Gristina
Anna Gristina was raised in Kirkliston, Edinburg in Scotland. She was convicted of running a brothel house in New York. Although she maintained that she was only running a high-class dating service, the court was not convinced, and she was sentenced to imprisonment. She had spent four months in the Rikers Jail and was released afterwards after her submission of $250,000 bond.
Rikers Jail complex is used to confine persons in lawful, pretrial detention. The inmates form a very heterogeneous population, and many get involved in unlawful activities even within the confines of the jail. Correctional facilities, at times, are incorrect in their approach; therefore, they do not serve their purpose. The inmates of Rikers invariably learn two things during their stay. One is that they come to know who their real friends are, and the other is that willful submission to the law is the real respect of the law.
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