Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Rikers Island Board Of Corrections Meeting

And on this day finds itself as Occupy Wall Street day one thousand and something, and Occupy Wall Street is still moving fast. And Black Lives Matter, that all things police brutality and beyond movement is still moving fast as well. And so after going to one of those March to Shut Down Rikers protests for Kalief Browder, I found myself at a Rikers Island Board of Corrections meeting yesterday, at a building with a lobby decorated in holiday decorations, surrounded by guards, or corrections officers as you can call them, at every step of the way, something reminiscent of Rikers Island itself, in that city of New York for some reason or another. #shutitdown, #shutdownrikersisland, shut it down, shut down Rikers Island, shut down a Rikers Island Board of Corrections. As Rikers Island is named after Richard Riker who used bounty hunters to collect slaves from the south and it is ranked as one of the ten worst prisons in America, a concentration camp, a torture chamber, a slave plantation, a prison for profit industry that has been compared to Abu Ghraib prison where you have to hope you make it out alive and you have to worry for the guards more than the prisoners, a place rampant with abuse, drugs, legal and illegal, sexual violence, and no oversight. And yet it is still open for business.  And so there was a New York City Department of Corrections, Board of Corrections meeting yesterday of people who seemed to be making life and death decisions of others in bondage, with an agenda that read something like:


December 16, 2015, 3:30 PM
455 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10016 - Auditorium on Ground Floor


1.  Aproval of November Meeting Minutes
2.  Publie Comment Related to Proposed Variances and Final Rule
3.  Discussion and Vote on Limited Variance:  BOC Minimun Standard 1 - 17, Punitive Segregation (Waiver of seven days release from punitive segregation requirement) - DOC
4.  Discussion and vote on Final Rule
5.  Update on Young Adult Plan
     a.  DOC Update
     b.  Ad Hoc Adolescent and Young Adult Committee Update
     c.  Discussion of Variance and Proposed Conditions of Limited Variance: BOC Minimum Standard 1 - 02 (c) (Date by which the Department shall implement the requirement that inmates aged 18 - 21 be housed separately and apart from inmates over the age of 21)
     d.  Vote on Limited Variance: BOC Minimum Standard 1 - 02 (c) (Date by which the Department shall implement the requirement that inmates aged 18 - 21 be housed separately and apart from inmates over the age of 21)

And there was public commentary from members of the audience from groups like  NYC Jails Action Coalition and Resist Rikers amongst others, and discussions from the Board of Corrections that had something to do with rolling back reforms, moving backwards, revised rules being much more restrictive, that vote we just had doesn't matter anymore, delaying regulations til the next board meeting, reviewing solitary confinement for more than 30 days, 7 day variances, concurrent infractions, serious infractions, rules, restraints, being cost effective, staff, waiting 6 months, punitive settings beyond 30 days, being confused on 30 day sentence, being concerned about 60 day overrides, the Chief of Staff and amendments, rule violations, out of cell time, serious assaults, alternative settings, owing more time, mental health workers (psychiatry kills, abolish forced psychiatric treatment....), people that work at Rikers Island, visitors, non violent acts, prolonged amounts of time in solitary confinement, waivers, and all things profit for prisons and more.

Welcome to America, home to 5% of the world's people and 25% of the world's prisoners. No one is free when others are oppressed. Is another world possible.  And what does this have to do with a No Police State.
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