Over two dozen pizzas from Domino’s were seen delivered to the Otis Bantum Correctional Center in Rikers Island, which allegedly holds the city’s worst prisoners, according to the NY Post.
Although Rikers Island is notorious for corruption, neglect, and a deeply set culture of violence, it seems that they’re taking small steps to shed that image and reputation, starting with a pizza party.
The pizza parties, which have occurred since 2014, is a tactic the jail uses to reduce violence among inmates or to reward inmates who “reached a key milestone” in a “work skills program.”
To some, however, the pizza parties for inmates leave a bad taste in their mouths, especially considering the fact that they are regularly covered by taxpayers’ money.
The pizzas for this recent party cost approximately $400 and provided 2 slices each for 75 different inmates, according to the Correction Department.
Retired city correction officer and union delegate David Fitzgerald told the Post, “It’s deplorable and disgusting, because you have officers that aren’t even afforded a meal leave, and you’re rewarding these inmates with pizza and sodas for good behavior.”
However, spokesman Peter Thorne supported the program and it’s real results it has brought, saying, “This was not ‘pizza-gate.’ We gave a couple of slices each to inmates participating in a program that helps reduce violence. And we’d do it again, because these programs are working.”
Surprisingly, these pizza parties really may be yielding some positive results. According to the same NY Post article, official figures show that serious attacks on Rikers Island officers are down 65% from fiscal 2014.
New York’s Rikers Island is one of the nation’s most well-known jails in America. The sprawling complex of approximately 413 acres sits on an island in the middle of Queens and Bronx, and manages an average daily population of 10,000 inmates a year.