Rikers: An American Jail

Showed at Images 2/21/2018

The United States is facing a crisis of mass incarceration with over 2.2 million people packed into its jails and prisons. To understand the human toll of this crisis, Rikers Island is a good place to start. Of the more than 7,500 people detained at Rikers Island on any given day, almost 80% 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 award-winning documentary from Bill Moyers, brings you face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told direct 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.

  • Director: Bill Moyers, Marc Levin
  • Genre: Documentary

“The film is told through intimate interviews with former inmates. One of them, Barry Campbell, says that Rikers should be an antidote to a life of violence on the streets, but instead, inmates often have to fight to survive.”

– WNYC