crime and punishment

Rikers Island Inmates Claim They Were Served Poisoned Meatloaf

FILE - In this July 31, 2014 file photo, Rikers Island juvenile detention facility inmates walk single file to the jail's chapel for a visit from Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons and entertainer L.L. Cool J. The city’s juvenile jails are extremely violent and unsafe, the result of a deeply ingrained culture of violence in which guards routinely violate constitutional rights of teenage inmates and subject them to “rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force,” federal prosecutors said in a scathing report released Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
Rikers Island inmates. Photo: Julie Jacobson/Corbis

This week, 19 inmates at the Anna M. Kross Center on Rikers Island filed a federal lawsuit alleging they were served meatloaf that contained rat poison during a lockdown last week, possibly in retaliation for the attempted rape of a correction officer (though she was saved by other inmates). On Wednesday, Patricia Feeney, the department’s assistant commissioner for environmental health, denied in an affidavit that officers are trying to cover up the incident by destroying the green-and-blue-specked meatloaf, and said she’s saving samples in her refrigerator. “I also looked at the rodenticides in the facility’s exterminator shop and none of the rodenticides matched the substance on the food,” Feeney said.

Rikers Inmates Say They Ate Poisoned Meatloaf