Brooklyn Heights

St. Francis College to host screening and discussion on ‘Rikers: An American Jail’

May 1 Event Part of College’s Post-Prison Opportunity Program

April 26, 2017 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Kathy Morse spent 10 months at Rikers Island jail. Photos: Mark Benjamin/Courtesy of
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Thousands of people are now held behind bars at Rikers Island, a jail with a history of violence and abuse, but most of them have not been to trial yet. Mayor Bill de Blasio says he wants to shut it down.

On Monday, May 1 at 6 p.m., the St. Francis College Post-Prison Opportunity will host a premiere screening with the NYU Law School Prisoners’ Rights and Education Project and Johnny Perez, a safe reentry advocate at the Urban Justice Center of the new Bill Moyers film, “Rikers: An American Jail.”

“Of the more than 7,500 people detained at Rikers Island on any given day, almost 80 percent have not yet been found guilty or innocent of the charges they face. All are at risk in the pervasive culture of violence that forces people to come to terms with what they must do for their own survival. ‘Rikers: An American Jail,’ a riveting new documentary from Bill Moyers, brings you face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told directly to camera, vividly describe the cruel arc of the Rikers experience — from the shock of entry to the extortion and control exercised by other inmates, the oppressive interaction with corrections officers, the beatings and stabbings, the torture of solitary confinement and the many challenges of returning to the outside world.” 

A panel discussion with students at St. Francis directly impacted by the criminal justice system will be led by Johnny Perez, ’17, who is also a full-time criminal justice student at the college. Students will discuss why it’s important to start over and build a just and fair prison system, that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. In addition, the panelists will discuss why colleges like St. Francis, with a commitment to educating students with criminal justice involvement, are one answer to the system of mass incarceration that perpetrates violence and injustice.


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