NYCHS Presentation Page 10 of 15

Jails for the 80s
NYC DOC Report



Facilities which fall substantially short in all physical condition categories and are not cost effective to renovate,
  1. House of Detention for Men, Rikers Island. (Built, 1933)
  2. Rikers Island Hospital (Built, 1932)

NAME: House of Detention for Men ("HDM")
USE: Adult Male Detention Facility
CAPACITY: Design - 1,865
Utilization - 1,200 (By court order 9/80)

HDM is a maximum-security institution built in 1933 to house sentenced adult males. Its eight three-tier cellblocks house 240 men each in inside cells of approximately 50 square feet. Second and third-tier units are accessible only by iron stairs from the first floor level of each block.

Today HDM houses approximately 1,550 male adult detainees and State-ready inmates. A Federal District Court decision has ordered reduction of total population to 1,200 "forthwith" and the Department is presently attempting to comply. The order which "capped" HDM's population at 1,200 stems from a six-year-old lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of several conditions at the facility, including noise levels, lack of ventilation, temperature, accessibility, visiting and health care, as well as overcrowding. . . .

NAME: Rikers Island Hospital
USE: Infirmary and limited-use housing for inmates with special medical or dietary needs
CAPACITY: 185 beds

This seven-story building was erected in 1932 and is neither a hospital, nor even a true infirmary in the accepted meaning of that term. Its physical condition and outmoded design five years ago persuaded the city to begin design on a replacement facility for the island, but the plans were shelved at the preliminary stage as the city's fiscal crisis brought virtually all of its capital programs to a halt.

The present facility cannot provide the Department with a sufficient range of medical care options. This results in the overutilization of the three prison wards at Bellevue, Elmhurst General and Kings County Hospitals and the outposting of large numbers of uniformed staff to guard inmates whose sub-acute, emergency, or convalescent needs could better be served in an on-Island facility. . . .

[Note: The above text is from part of Chapter III,
pages III - 7 through III - 17.]
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