🧵 I want to share more about what I witnessed at Rikers Island yesterday. We broke into groups to inspect different parts of the sprawling facility. I spent several hours at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center.
OBCC is where people are taken to be processed and wait for a hearing. People are supposed to be in and out within 24 hours.

I met people who had been there for 3 months. No contact with family. Overcrowded. No air conditioning.
There's garbage everywhere, rotting food with maggots, cockroaches, worms in the showers, human feces and piss. Most of the toilets are broken so men are given plastic bags to relieve themselves in.
I was told by many people being held there that they're given a single meal a day, and even that has to be demanded and begged for. Everyone was thirsty and had limited access to water.
Most of the people I met were not at Rikers for serious allegations. One got into a fist fight at a barbecue. Many had accidentally made a small technical violation of their parole.
They were confident these charges would be dismissed once they had a hearing but the hearing date passed and no one came to get them for it.
There's a lot of serious mental illness and many hadn't been given their prescription medication for months.

I met multiple men with broken hands and legs that were not being treated.
The ratio of guards to incarcerated people is something like 7 to 3. The officers hate the conditions too and are doing sick outs or just don't show up at all. The people who do report to work end up having to work 18-24 hour shifts.
Because of the lack of security, everyone's scared their going to be injured or killed. Most people have fashioned some kind of homemade weapon to defend themselves.
The prisoners (who have not actually been convicted of any crime, mind you) get maced regularly. For talking too much. For congregating. For anything really.
Men were calling out phone numbers to me, saying things like, “Please call my grandma and tell her where I am!” Or would burst into tears and say “I’ve been praying you would come! Save us! We are going to die!”
While one man was begging me to hug him through bars and weeping, around the corner another man yelled to my colleague, "Miss, look at me” and turned to see a man jump into a noose he made out of a sheet.
I am totally overwhelmed by what I saw.

Today I'm calling grandmas, moms, girlfriends and wives of these men to tell them what's going on.
One of the officers told me, "At this point we are on the prisoners' side. We are all forgotten. We live here too. Triple shift by triple shift.”
Here's what we can do:

1. Pressure DAs to stop asking for cash bail and consigning people who haven't been convicted to this horror house

2. @NYCMayor must use his power to release people rapidly

3. @GovKathyHochul should immediately sign the Less is More legislation

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More from @EmilyAssembly

11 Feb
There's a lot of talk about how the rich will flee if we end preferential tax treatment for accrued wealth, super high incomes and record corporate profits.

This is wrong, on the facts and its moral vision. It's working class folks who get forced out the city, not the wealthy.
There are exhaustive studies on this. Federal tax returns reveal that only 2.4% of US-based millionaires change their state of residence in any given year.

The poor, meanwhile, are nearly twice as likely to move to a new state than the rich.
New York has lost a million jobs, half of them in NYC. These losses have been concentrated in low-wage sectors and communities of color.

And if we don't close the budget gap, there will be tens of thousands of public sector layoffs. These are the folks who will leave.
Read 5 tweets
27 Apr 20
THREAD: During a deadly pandemic and the worst economic shock since the Depression, New York's party machine is doing what we’ve long come to expect: protecting their own from democracy.

Cancelling the presidential primary and booting Bernie from the ballot is part of it.
But it's not the only part.

At hearings last week, the Board of Elections “saw challenge after challenge from party-linked filers looking to boot candidates off ballots."

That includes my dear friend @NurseForNYC. spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/hudson-val…
Sandy would be a relentless force for good on the City Council. But the Brooklyn machine had their favorite and didn't want voters to have a choice. nypost.com/2020/04/20/can…
Read 13 tweets

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