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By Graham A. Rayman



What happens when you jam eleven jails, bulging at the seams with society's cast-offs, onto a spit of landfill, purposefully hidden from public view and named after a judge who paid for captured slaves? Prize-winning journalists Graham Rayman and Reuven Blau have spent years interviewing every kind of person whom Rikers has touched, from inmates and guards to judges and mayors, with stories spanning from the 1970s to the present day. The stories that emerge paint a brutal portrait of violence, despair, and profound injustice in one of the biggest institutions of America's justice system. The stories that Graham and Blau collected give readers a full, 360-degree inside one of the country's largest detentional facilities for the first time. The book is structured as if you are going to Rikers yourself and learning about it, piece by piece, as its inhabitants do. So it begins with the first day: On her way to the jail in 2011, Grace Price remembered, "a little crack head lady" fell asleep on her shoulder as they were crossing the Rikers Island Bridge. "She was nasty but I just let her sleep there, because it somehow made me feel like I was actually in control of my situation." When Homer Venters, the former chief medical officer at Rikers, arrived on his first day, he was shocked by the screams. "They're in solitary, just yelling.the yelling literally never stops." After a few months though, he said, you can't physically hear the yelling anymore. Your ears adjust to the sounds of Rikers. These stories continue from the first day on-stories of despair, brutality, resilience, and hope, told by the people who were irrevocably scarred by the island over the course of decades. As calls to close jails are growing louder across the country, Just Another Day at Rikers is a resounding lesson about the human consequences of the prison industrial complex.

ISBN: 9780593134214


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