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Getting Off Rikers Island

Across the United States, jails and prisons have become petri dishes for the coronavirus — dangerously cramped, unsanitary quarters where residents lack the resources to keep safe. This has prompted local governments to release thousands of inmates. But who got to go, and who had to stay? And how was that decision made?

Today, we hear the story of one inmate trying to get out of the second-largest jail in the country, the Rikers Island prison complex in New York. Guests: Alan Feuer, who covers criminal justice for The New York Times, and Mitch Pomerance, a resident of Rikers Island. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.

Background reading:

For weeks, public defenders warned of a public health catastrophe if inmates weren’t released and prisons weren’t sanitized to guard against the coronavirus. Now, the pandemic is hitting jail systems across the country.

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