STORIES FROM PEOPLE INCARCERATED IN NYC JAILS
Mr. D witnessed a man in the intake cell begin having seizures because he did not have access to his medication for days. When his cellmates’ pleas for help and screams for a doctor went unanswered, the men in the unit lifted the man from the floor and carried him to the front of the gate, as if to prove the basis for demanding help. Rather than getting a doctor or providing emergency relief, officers used chemical agent spray to push the entire group to the back of the cell while the man continued to have a seizure at the gate covered in chemical spray. When DOC finally opened the cell, they continued spraying the chemical agent into the cell as they pulled the man out by his arms. Despite well-established protocols and policies, no one in the cell was allowed to decontaminate and no one received any relief—shower, circulating air, water, or milk—for their burning throats and eyes.
Mr. C spent almost a week in intake. He shared that, although meals are distributed, there are only enough trays to feed half of the people in the cell, at most. Some make the difficult decision to skip their own meals so others who did not eat earlier can have at least minimal sustenance.
After begging for his medication, Mr. T was told repeatedly by DOC that no escort was available to take him to the medication window. Mr. T told DOC staff that if they didn’t take him to get his medication he was going to jump from the top tier. Mr. T jumped later that night.
Mr. M was scheduled for surgery prior to his arrest and is now in immense pain, requiring a cane to walk. The Department took his cane so he is now forced to lean on other men in his unit for assistance. He has waited weeks to see medical staff.
Mr. G was in intake for weeks and was never provided with a toothbrush or toothpaste. He used the water being passed around to rinse his mouth and his fingernails to scrape his teeth.
Mr. K is asthmatic and can barely breathe some days. He called his defense office to report he was vomiting all morning. He was told he tested positive for COVID-19 three days prior but was sent back to his dorm at OBCC, with no mask or medication. He cried to his defense team over the phone and said he is scared he will die.
Mr. N was in a dorm style unit at OBCC. A door between units was left unlocked, allowing close to 20 men from a neighboring unit to enter. Mr. N and the other men were left to fight for their lives when the 20 men rushed in with makeshift weapons from the decrepit facilities and stabbed Mr. N and others repeatedly in the torso, legs and head. Mr. N and the others ran to the “bubble” begging for the officer to let them in. Mr. N was one of the lucky ones, and despite the actions that took place that night and his pleas for medical attention, he has yet to be brought down to see medical staff for his wounds.
Mr. P was immediately assaulted by people in his unit where no staff were present. With no staff in his unit, he called his family, his girlfriend and his attorney begging for help to get him moved. Mr. P's defense team sent over three referrals to the Department, even including the Chief of Department Kenneth Stukes, with no response. Mr. P called his defense team soon after to say that he will be killed and he would rather die by his own hands than someone else's. He attempted suicide soon after and was cut down by staff.
Mr. R is in a cell styled unit and fears for his life. There are no officers on the floor of the unit, and there hasn’t been for weeks, leaving the unit in control of a small group of men. The rules of the unit have been made clear and no one is allowed to use the phone and no one is allowed to enter the top tier cells. Mr. R witnessed one man in his unit use the phone before he was slashed across the face and beaten. Shortly after, a new person entered the unit and was told to walk up to the top tier where he was met by several men. They beat him up in an empty cell and then pushed him over the top tier railing. Mr. R does not leave his cell unless he can trade commissary goods and funds, which usually fall on his struggling family who will put money on the accounts of men to ensure Mr. R’s safety.
Mr. O is a young person at the Robert N. Davoren Center (RNDC). His cell door has been broken since his arrival. This has enabled other people to force their way into this cell to repeatedly slash and attack him. He has requested a safety transfer multiple times, but staff never follow up. “There are barely ever COs monitoring the unit, it’s a free for all here” he said. Our office sends urgent requests to the Chief of the Department and has received no response while this person is continuously assaulted.
For weeks, Mr. A had been locked inside intake, a temporary holding area designed to house people for no more than 24 hours. Thirty days into his confinement in the “temporary area,” he remained in an intake cell with almost 30 people. The toilet in the cell was exposed for all to see and was broken and inoperable. Because it did not flush and leaned to the left, feces and urine spilled out onto the floor. There are no beds in the cell, so the men were forced to sleep surrounded by or even on top of raw sewage. Although they begged for a mop to clean the floor, officers provided no response. Mr. A, and no doubt many others, had been holding his bowel movements for days because he was afraid and embarrassed.