Rikers Island inmates plot hunger strike over poor conditions ahead of Biden’s NYC visit

Fed up inmates at Rikers Island are planning another hunger strike over the deplorable conditions at the lockup – in hopes of raising enough attention that “some of us can go home, ’cause living here ain’t it!” The Post has learned.

A handwritten note was secretly circulated among inmates urging them to go on hunger strike ahead of President Biden’s planned trip to the Big Apple later this week.

“All gangsters, gentlemen and stand up individuals, the courts and DOC are violating us every day, and our families are suffering for it as well,” reads the letter, which sources said was distributed in food carts to inmates at Rikers’ Robert N Davoren Complex.

“Courts are violating due process rights, giving us ransoms insted of bails [sic]! ” the letter obtained by The Post reads. “What happen [sic] to bail reform? ”

The screed, whose author is not known, accuses officials with the city Department of Correction of “messing with our mail, visits, recreation, medical, law library, commissary, living conditions” and also complains of mold in the lockup.

According to prison officials, the hunger strike started after President Biden announced his trip to New York later this week.
According to prison officials, the hunger strike was suggested after President Biden announced his trip to New York later this week.
AP Photo / Seth Wenig, File

“No matter if your [sic] gang-affiliated or neutral, were [sic] in this together! ” it says.

The letter vows to outdo a hunger strike at RNDC earlier this month, when about 200 inmates refused meals – part of the recent turmoil at the beleaguered city-run jail complex. Detainees instead, however, still ate commissary snacks while on strike.

“This time we need everyone to make this count!” the letter says. Lawyers are trying to get Biden to the Island, let’s do our part! (If we peacefully protest) like Martin Luther King, or Gandhi [sic].

Inmate kitchen workers helped circulate the message, which indicated that the strike would start January 29, 2022 according to sources.  It's unclear if it ever began.
Inmate kitchen workers helped circulate the message, which indicated that the strike would start January 29, 2022, according to sources. It’s unclear if it ever began.
Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

“Through hunger strike, we can get some attention, and hopefully some of us can go home, ’cause living here ain’t it! So respectfully (no violence) because it’s gonna justify their f — kery. Let’s start making a difference. ”

Inmate kitchen workers helped circulate the message, which indicated that the strike would start Jan. 29, according to sources. It’s unclear if it ever began.

“So, the inmate workers put the note in the food carts and passed [it] around to each house, spreading the word, ”the source said. “And then we started seeing them laying around. We are trying to figure out who [wrote it]. ”

Rikers Island, which houses 10 jails, has been beset by problems, including staff shortages and an uptick in inmate violence.

Protesters attend a rally held in solidarity with inmates on hunger strike, at the entrance to the Rikers Island jail complex in Queens, New York on January 13, 2022.
Protesters attend a rally held in solidarity with inmates on hunger strike, at the entrance to the Rikers Island jail complex in Queens, New York on January 13, 2022.
ED JONES / AFP via Getty Images
Several inmates at Rikers Prison hope that the hunger strike will lead to action against the humanitarian crisis the prison is facing.
Several inmates at Rikers hope that the hunger strike will lead to action.
ED JONES / AFP via Getty Images

Videos on social media recently showed inmates at one facility partying in a cell, while officials have expressed concern over an increase in attacks on staff.

Last week, a group of public defenders pleaded with Biden to visit Rikers when he comes to the Big Apple on Thursday, calling on him to “witness firsthand” the “unmitigated humanitarian crisis” there.

It is unclear what is on Biden’s agenda outside of a meeting with Mayor Eric Adams.

The DOC did not immediately comment.

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