COVID-19 ALERT: Rikers Island

My name is James Johnson and I am currently at Rikers Island. I want people to know that we are very sick and that the conditions here are terrible.

It all started when we had five inmates who went down to medical and came back. A few days later they were sick.

One guy was just done for, he was so ill. They took him downstairs and we never saw him again. Another gentleman in that group was still upstairs with us, like it was all normal. He was just coughing on everything in here.

If you were playing cards with him or if he was on the phone, or even if he was just by you, he was coughing. Then it was like a domino effect. Right now we have at least 13 guys with the same or similar symptoms, including myself.

It started about a week and a half ago. When I sat up I got dizzy, and I was like, What the hell? So I finally got up and my legs gave out under me. I sat down and I got one of the guys to go tell an officer that I’m not feeling well.

When the guard came around, he told me, “Oh, call 311” – meaning the official complaint line for the department of corrections. What do you mean “Call 311”? This is the response that you get from sergeants and certain officers that are on your floor.

I’m sick even now. I have a fever – I get hot and cold flashes. I have no taste and I can’t smell. And I have excruciating headaches.