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Rikers Island: The Failure of a “Model” Penitentiary
The Prison Journal  (IF1.19),  Pub Date : 2020-11-02, DOI: 10.1177/0032885520968238
Jayne Mooney, Jarrod Shanahan

New York City’s Rikers jail complex is gripped by a crisis of legitimacy. Following a series of investigations, it has been denounced as a major symbol of criminal justice dysfunction, with calls for its closure and replacement with new smaller “state of the art” jails. Yet, when it opened, Rikers was hailed as a “model” facility, at the cutting edge of prison design and prisoner rehabilitation. To elucidate the present situation, we provide a focus on the under-explored history of New York City’s penal institutions.