Diocesan News

Only in Print: Rikers Island Chaplains Demand The Return of Religious Services

Visitors have not been allowed at Rikers Island during the pandemic. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

WINDSOR TERRACE — Four months after churches in New York were given the go-ahead to start holding religious services again, there are still no prayerful gatherings at Rikers Island, according to prison chaplains, who said inmates are being deprived of their religious rights.

“They stopped allowing us to hold services when the pandemic hit. But when the ban was lifted for churches, they should have included us too,” one chaplain told The Tablet. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on June 6 that religious institutions in New York State could open for services under guidelines that included a limit of 25 percent capacity and strict social distancing. Religious services, like most public gatherings, had been banned in March due to COVID-19.

Religious services provide an important function at Rikers Island, the chaplain said…

The rest of this article can be found exclusively in the October 10 printed version of The Tablet. You can receive future editions of the paper in  your mailbox at a discounted rate by subscribing here. Thank you for supporting Catholic journalism.