Narrator: Stanley Morris

Summary: Stanley Morris grew up in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. He served his first term on Rikers Island in 1986 when he was 20 years old. Over the following decades, he served several more stints on Rikers, where he worked as a barber and in food service. He was incarcerated for a parole violation there in early 2020, when COVID-19 first swept through the facility. During the pandemic, he received inadequate medical care at the jail, where he waited more than three weeks to see a doctor, who dismissed him without an examination. Without proper personal protective equipment, he and other incarcerated people had to make homemade masks from bed sheets. He describes Rikers during the pandemic as “chaos on steroids,” as the jail’s normally tumultuous and violent energy ramped up. He prayed every night that he would make it out alive so he could see his family again. In his 25 years of going back and forth to Rikers, this was his worst experience there. (Summary written by: Annie Anderson)

Interview Date: 06/10/20

Partner Organization: Exodus Transitional – Holiday Inn

Interviewer: Jenny Goldberg 

Tags: Rikers Island, Incarceration, Prison abolition, New York City, Oral history, Rikers Public Memory Project, RPMP, Personal history of incarceration, Re-entry, Covid at Rikers, Correction Officers, Insufficient health services, Working in Rikers while incarcerated, Overcrowding, Prison facilities, Poor living conditions, Physical impact of incarceration, Coping mechanisms, Defense mechanisms, Anxiety / Stress, Gangs, Bloods, Crips, Threats and fears, Social interactions in prison, Generation changes, Rikers history, Rikers in the 80s, Police/officers’ accountability, Detainees exploitation, Psychological impact of incarceration, Violence in prison, Violence normalization, Network of support, Solitary confinement, Officers’ abuse, Being released from Rikers, Re-incarceration, Working after Rikers, Parole

To read the transcript of this interview, click here