Saturday, December 03, 2022

They are demanding that he close the prison and improve conditions for inmates at Rikers Island

While it has been decided whether the Rikers Island prison complex will remain in state hands or go under federal control, mothers like Olga Salgado have called for its closure and changes to the conditions in which inmates live, especially solitary confinement. Imprisonment in

Salgado revealed, “He spent almost all of his time chained, from his hands to his feet, to a table, with chains that would cut off his hands if he moved the slightest bit.”

She talks about Ricardo, the youngest of their five children and accused of murder, who is serving a 25-year sentence.

Ricardo has already served eight years, two of which he spent at Rikers Island before being transferred to a prison in ‘upstate’ New York.

“It’s very sad and painful because he came there at 19 and his brain was not developed yet,” Salgado said.

Olga says she paid a private lawyer $20,000 to expedite her son’s process, anticipating a tragic outcome, such as the 18 inmates who died at the center this year.

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“When he left Rikers, I felt great relief, even though I knew he was going to another, I felt great relief. And I had to go further, but going into Rikers I felt like I was just a And the day I want to hear that voice that he’s alive,” Salgado said.


When she is not working, Olga supports the ‘Freedom Agenda’, a program of the Urban Justice Center, which fights for the rights of prisoners.

“True public safety lies in reserving resources for our communities, as we continue to incarcerate the most vulnerable with mental health issues, drug addiction, poverty,” said Ashley Conrad, coordinator of the Community Freedom Agenda.

“After going through traumatic systems like Rikers Island and solitary confinement, change is necessary if we are to truly achieve public safety,” Conrad said.

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Although the city’s mayor and commissioner of the Department of Corrections are against federal control of Rikers Island, the city council is struggling to reduce the inmate population, eliminate solitary confinement, and close the complex, as it was approved by the previous council. was approved.

“We know that Rikers is not a permanent detention center, it is for people who are waiting for an appointment or a hearing, but what happens or what happened before with ‘cash bail’ was that very little level felony, hopefully the families will be able to raise enough money for the bail, which in many cases was $500, $1,000,” said Brooklyn Councilwoman Jennifer Gutierrez.

The councilor said, “You know it’s very difficult for our families, so people who could normally wait two weeks have gone on for two years.”

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