Removed from Society: The Prison System and the Geography of Nowhere

As the threat of Hurricane Irene loomed off the eastern coast last week, it was discovered mere hours before its arrival in New York that despite the city’s historic mandatory evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents, there was no plan to evacuate the estimated 14,000 prisoners held on Rikers Island. With the swift and efficient evacuation of the free citizens of New York, Mayor Bloomberg and the city government were praised by the media for taking steps to avoid a possible Hurricane Katrina style catastrophe. Yet, by failing to evacuate the prisoners of Rikers Island, they set themselves up to the possibility of replicating one of the most egregious episodes of human rights abuses surrounding Hurricane Katrina: the abandonment of the prisoners of the Orleans Parish Prison. According to the ACLU, prisoners at the Orleans Parish Prison were left locked in their cells as the flood reached the prison and were left without food or water for days until they were evacuated.

(Full article available at As It Ought To Be)

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