A former Rikers correction officer has opened up about the horrific experiences she endured while working in the infamous jail, revealing inmates would regularly masturbate in front of her, throw ‘urine and feces’ at her, and even attempted to rape a female colleague.
The woman, who kept her identity hidden for privacy reasons, worked at the jail for two years – which is the home to more than 10,000 accused criminals who are awaiting their trials.
She spoke out about the terrible things she faced while working at the prison – which is located on an island between Queens and the Bronx in New York City – revealing that inmates would assault officers ‘daily’ and put their penises through the food slot while she was delivering meals to them.
‘There’s been multiple occasions when I’ve been touring, and an inmate will pull his penis out and will masturbate,’ she told Vice recently.
‘I remember the first time an inmate masturbated in front of me. I was feeding them through the feeding slot.
‘Once you open their slot to put their tray, they would put their penis in the slot. I screamed, and the other officers on the tour were like, “What happened?”
‘I was like, “He’s masturbating.” And they were like, “Oh, he does that to everyone.” Like it was just normal. I felt violated. I felt disrespected. I felt scared.’
A former Rikers correction officer has opened up about the horrors of her job, revealing inmates would regularly masturbate in front of her. Rikers Island is pictured
The woman, who kept her identity hidden, worked at the jail (pictured) for two years – which is the home to more than 11,000 accused criminals who are awaiting their trials
The former officer explained that most of the people are there for violent crimes like ‘murder, rape, domestic violence, burglary, and robbery,’ adding, ‘It’s just an island filled with gangs that are constantly trying to kill each other.’
Recent Rikers Island incidents
- A prisoner hijacked a bus filled with prisoners – which was left unattended with keys inside – and crashed it into a wall in October 2021
- Rikers Island inmates were seen punching, kicking, and stomping on guards in a violent surveillance video footage compilation obtained by Fox News in August 2021
- That same month, an inmate stole keys from a guard, freed another detainee and slashed the officer’s neck with a knife, prompting him to seek refuge in his attacker’s own jail cell
- A couple of weeks later, another inmate stabbed his neighbor after climbing out of his cell through a metal grate in the wall
- The New York Times documented more than a dozen instances since July, in which inmates were allowed to wander around the jail unrestricted, resulting in multiple acts of violence
- The jail’s federal monitor, Steve J. Martin, said in August that worsening conditions in the city’s jails were tied directly to a spike in ‘excessive and unchecked staff absences’
- At one point during the summer, more than one-third of the city’s jail guards – about 3,050 of 8,500 – were on sick leave or medically unfit to work with inmates
- At the time, lawmakers who toured Rikers complex said it was filthy and inhumane, with overflowing toilets and floors covered in dead cockroaches, feces, and rotting food
- There were 16 reported deaths of incarcerated people on Rikers Island in 2021. Six inmates have died in 2022
‘They would set fires in their cell. You can be walking doing your tour and all of a sudden, urine or feces is thrown at you,’ she continued.
‘Almost all of them have weapons – knives or sharp objects. Officers would be assaulted daily.
‘It can range from a broken nose, to a broken eye socket, broken bones, ribs, there’s no limit to what these inmates would do to you. We are at a time where the inmates are running the prison.’
The anonymous woman said the system has ‘definitely failed everyone involved.’
‘I was hired to provide custody, care, and control of the inmates,’ she added. ‘The system has definitely failed everyone involved – the inmates, the officers. Everyone involved is suffering.’
The former jail staffer recalled one time when an inmate had gotten into the guard station and ‘ripped off’ a female officer’s belt and pants.
‘Thankfully, an officer came and was able help her. [The inmate] was being held for rape, I believe his intentions were to rape her,’ she said.
‘They suggested that we wear Spanx underneath our uniform just in case. There shouldn’t be a “just in case.”‘
She continued, ‘I have seen female officers terminated for having relationships with the inmates. There has been incidents where officers have been impregnated by inmates.
‘Once you start a relationship with an inmate, or once you say yes to them once, you can’t say no because you’re locked in, you’re trapped at that point.’
The woman explained that there was normally 50 inmates for every one guard, and that although they are given pepper spray for protection, some of the inmates are ‘used to it’ so it ‘does nothing to them.’
She said that if she were to report an incident, her superiors would turn it on her and ask, ‘What did you do wrong? What did you not do to prevent it?’
She also stated that her captain often ‘sided with the inmate before they sided with her,’ and that it felt like they were ‘just there to tear her down.’
According to the Rikers guard, drugs are ‘rampant’ in the jail – and are brought in by officers, people in charge of programs, doctors, nurses, and civilians visiting inmates.
She spoke out about the terrible things she faced while working on the island, revealing that inmates would assault officers ‘daily.’ A Rikers inmate is seen beating an officer in 2018
‘It can range from a broken nose, to a broken eye socket, bones, ribs, there’s no limit to what they would do to you,’ she shared. An inmate at Rikers is seen attacking an officer in January
She stated that her captain often ‘sided with the inmate before siding with her,’ and that it felt like they were ‘just there to tear her down.’ A Rikers inmate is seen attacking an officer in 2018
‘There’s K2, pentanol, marijuana – any drug you can think of, they probably have it,’ she shared.
‘The value of any drug in jail is worth much more than it would be worth on the outside. Maybe five times more.
‘There were definitely officers accepting bribes. Not only officers, but civilians bring it in as well – the people who are in charge of programs, doctors, nurses. Some of them are scared, some of them do it for the money.’
The officer said the job was ‘so draining’ that she would come home and go right to bed – sleeping until her next shift. And when the pandemic hit, things got worse.
She claimed she and her coworkers would often get ‘stuck’ working 16-hour shifts back to back, resulting in them working for more than 24-hour periods without sleep.
She explained, ‘You’re on post for 24 hours and then a fight breaks out and they expect you to do everything right on no sleep. You’re supposed to still do your duties to the best of your ability.’
The former jail staffer also recalled a time when an inmate got into the guard station and ‘ripped off’ a female officer’s belt and pants, attempting to ‘rape’ her (stock photo)
The anonymous woman said the system has ‘definitely failed everyone involved,’ adding, ‘We are at a time where the inmates are running the prison.’ Rikers Island is pictured
‘Data on uses of force, fights, stabbings, and slashings among people in custody and assaults on staff reveal that 2021 has been the most dangerous year,’ a 2021 report on the prison found.
The report stated that there were 2,113 detainee assaults on staff between January and September 2021.
The woman told Vice that she started to develop chest pain due to the stress of her job, adding that she had colleagues who died from heart attacks over it.
‘I didn’t have a coping method,’ she said. ‘I remember thinking, “I’m 21, and I’m going to have a heart attack.” I hit rock bottom.
‘I actually tried to quit three times but they always convinced me to stay in the fight. I remember getting to a point where I was like, “I can’t do this anymore … I’m done.”‘
Eventually, she left the profession, and she said 100s of others followed in her footsteps afterwards.
‘If I could talk to an officer that was looking to join corrections, I would tell them, “Don’t do that. It’s not worth your quality of life, it’s not worth your mental health. Until there is some sort of structure and safety, you shouldn’t even consider it,”‘ she concluded.