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Reviews |  Chaotic conditions at Rikers Island


For the publisher:

Re “Anarchy inside Rikers allows inmates to exercise their power” (front page, October 11):

I worked on Rikers Island for two years as an attending physician. Your article captures the state of the prison and the incompetence of corrections very well. Why do those in charge of the facility provide ineffective security to inmates, staff and civilian workers?

Having worked in correctional health care for 25 years, I have found Rikers’ medical services to be top notch, with very dedicated mental health care providers caring for inmates who are often homeless and addicted to drugs. .

The atmosphere, however, was like the Wild West. I was physically assaulted by an inmate. Prisoners freely insult staff and contract workers. This caused a feeling of moral and professional helplessness.

It seems the easy way out is to build new prisons. However, unless those at the top are held accountable, I fear the same dangerous conditions will continue to plague the citizens of New York City who are arrested and the staff who try to provide services to them.

Michael borecky
new York
The writer is a cardiologist.

For the publisher:

In the late 1970s, as project director of the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project, I was part of a team of attorneys who filed lawsuits challenging prison conditions in New York City prisons. , including those on Rikers Island.

Our litigation led to the closure of the infamous “graves” in Lower Manhattan and resulted in a series of consent decrees that applied to all prisons, including those in Rikers. These court orders ensured at least basic health and sanitation and a minimum of decency and safety.

We also advocated for the sale and closure of Rikers Island decades before its closure was official city policy. However, the city broke its promise to comply with these decrees, and after the passage of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (which limited inmates’ ability to prosecute), it persuaded the courts to end largely to these decrees, leaving the inmates on Rikers. Island without essential judicial control. The tragedies currently unfolding on Rikers Island are a direct result.

Conversation of opinion
Questions around the Covid-19 vaccine and its deployment.

Michael B. Mushlin
White Plains, NY
The writer is a professor at the Elisabeth Haub Faculty of Law at Pace University.

For the publisher:

Re “When it is better to listen to a book than to read it”, by Farhad Manjoo (column, October 9):

I was delighted to discover that I am far from the only one enjoying audiobooks, a lifeline during these long months of Covid.

Twenty years ago, I found an affordable but dark apartment that served perfectly as a place to sleep at night. But now it’s in the office and at home 24/7. And the darkness weighs heavily.

When I’m not working in front of a computer screen with all the lights on, I’m out in the sun. Central Park has been my go-to for long, sanity-preserving walks.

The discovery of audiobooks was not immediate, however, as I had been a bit of a purist. First there was news podcast, then dives into the BBC’s historical podcast collection and now historical fiction.

Hours and many miles later my soul flew over the currents with a voice, as if I was listening to a bedtime story, to times and places that have been or may never have been. summer.

Phyllis lee
new York

For the publisher:

I couldn’t agree more with Farhad Manjoo’s review. I am so immersed in novels voiced by excellent actors that I often find that I have inserted myself into the scenes, expressing out loud my own comments or responses to the characters.

Of course, the characters don’t answer me but continue their own conversations as if they haven’t heard me. But it is okay.

Marie C. Helf
Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

For the publisher:

I can see the seductions of a bugle voice reading a book while cooking, cleaning, waiting for sleep, etc. But it would be sad to instill this alternative in adolescents and young readers as an alternative to reading the classics of world literature. This would only add to the current resistance to attaching ourselves to the written word, with social media already overwhelming us.

Pierre Ranis
new York

For the publisher:

Re “Pending OSHA Rule, Biden Urges Businesses to Require Vaccinations” (news article, October 8):

I want to add the intensity of my voice in favor of immunization mandates. I will only fly on airlines that have made employee vaccination mandatory. And the first airline to enforce passenger vaccinations will get my case. And I will travel long distances to fly from any airport that requires vaccinations for entry.

Cynthia G. Hicks
San Leandro, California

For the publisher:

Re “James Bond is finally back. Let the holidays begin. (Again.) ”(Affairs, October 11):

There’s a reason the James Bond movies have been so successful in the past and now. Agent 007 has traveled all over the world and we as moviegoers have traveled with him.

We have skied in the Swiss Alps, gambled in lavish casinos and sailed to exotic islands in faraway places. Accompanied by a memorable musical score and cutting edge technology that we could actually relate to, the movies always turned out to be a great ride.

The James Bond films have provided us with an escape. In today’s tough times, this is what many of us need.

Judith Eisenberg Pollak
new York


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