Prisoners at New York's grim city jail rioted on Tuesday(11 August) for the second time in 24 hours to air their grievances, holding three guards hostage for eight hours and starting several fires.
Prisoners at New York's grim city jail rioted on Tuesday(11 August) for the second time in 24 hours to air their grievances, holding three guards hostage for eight hours and starting several fires. The prisoners at the jail, called the Tombs, were rioting over conditions.
Prisoners, who were holding the guards hostage on the eighth storey of the 15-storey building, lit fires and broke windows sending burning rags and broken glass cascading onto the street below.
Police and fire engines stood by in the street, but police did not enter the prison, leaving Department of Correction authorities free to handle the situation. Extra police were called to help control the large crowds which gathered.
Prisoners pushed a hand-written note through a window which claimed the inmates were crowded into cells and that there was no medication or decent food.
On Monday(10 August), prisoners presented a list of grievances to the press and the office of Mayor Lindsay. The list included complaints that the old building was infested with vermin; that the medical staff was inadequate and that the guards were brutal, particularly to black and Puerto Rican inmates.
The city's prison commissioner accepted the list and said there would be no reprisals. He also said the prisoners were saying what he had been saying for years.
There are more than 1,900 inmates in the Tombs -- more than double the buildings planned capacity -- and most are awaiting trial rather than serving sentences.