Narrator: Eileen Maher

Summary: Eileen Maher grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and moved to New York City when she was 20. She first arrived at Rikers Island in 2013 when she was in her mid-30s. She worked in her housing unit as the “house feeder,” preparing and serving breakfast and cleaning the bathroom. She describes a typical day at Rikers as “boring,” with not much to do but wait, watch TV, and eat. To pass the time, she visited the law library almost everyday. She spent 428 days at Rikers before being sent to state prison. She thinks Rikers should be remembered as a cautionary tale about how not to run a correctional system. (Summary written by: Annie Anderson)

Interview Date: 1/22/20

Partner Organization: College & Community Fellowship

Interviewer: Margo Sacerdote

Tags: intake, insufficient health services, detainees’ neglect, correction officers, working in Rikers while incarcerated, turtle squad, officer’s abuse, poor living conditions, prison facilities, officer’s accountability, poor living conditions, social interactions in prison, visitation process, impact on outside relationships, sexual assault, NYC policies, policy changes, going to court, physical impact of incarceration, abuse of medication, rikers history, Rikers Island, Incarceration, Prison abolition, New York City, Oral history, Rikers Public Memory Project, RPMP

To read the transcript of this interview, click here