Narrator: Marion

Summary: Marion served one year on Rikers Island, where she lived in “the Scrums,” an area of temporary housing. She termed time in the winter, and she slept in all of her clothes and a pair of shoes to stay warm. She remembers how creative other women were at Rikers, making hair rollers out of tampons and using bed sheet threads to tweeze their eyebrows. She was impressed with the survival instincts and closeness that people at Rikers developed. “People call each other mom, auntie, sis. I never really had that camaraderie in the street,” she recalls. Rikers is a big mistake and should have never been built, she affirms. Even though she’s been out for 17 years, she still gets chills thinking about Rikers. (Summary written by: Annie Anderson)

Interview Date: 5/13/2020

Partner Organization: LVN Community Conversation 2

Interviewer: Tamika Graham

Tags: Rikers Island, Incarceration, Prison abolition, New York City, Oral history, Rikers Public Memory Project, RPMP, Anxiety / Stress, Close Rikers, Covid at Rikers, Insufficient health services, NYC Policies, Impact on communities, incarceration rates, Lack of resources/services, Visitation Process, Emotional impact of visitation, Impact on outside relationships, Language barriers, Coping mechanisms, Defense mechanisms, Network of support, Psychological impact of incarceration, Social interactions in prison, Violence in prison, Violence normalization, Officers’ abuse, Police abuse, Sexual assault, First impressions, Generation changes, Correction Officers, Physical impact of incarceration, Prison facilities, Poor living conditions, Police abuse, Police/officers’ accountability, Youth incarceration, Re-entry, Personal history of incarceration, Housing after Rikers

To read the transcript of this interview, click here