As the world transitioned to shelter-in-place mode, and the word coronavirus entered into the lexicon of everyday life, one particular technological innovation became the epicenter of human connection: video and audio conferences. While churches, schools, and institutions reimagined and adapted to new forms of engaging their communities, for those in prison, the only way to speak with anyone from the outside has been through a screen.
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.
The New York City Council on Oct. 17 passed a plan to close the detention centers on Rikers Island by 2026 and move inmates to four smaller jails in New York City
A proposal to close Rikers Islands’ jails by 2026 and replace them with smaller facilities in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx awaits a City Council vote in October for final approval.