Narrator: Tyrone Jackson

Summary: Tyrone Jackson grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He first arrived at Rikers Island as a teenager in 1986, when he served a week before being bailed out. He returned to Rikers again in the 1990s and 2000s, and later served time in state prison. His grandmother died during one of his terms at Rikers, and officers brought Jackson to her wake. While at Rikers, Jackson witnessed and participated in violence; he and another man beat someone up for stealing from him. While incarcerated, Jackson affiliated with the Nation of Gods and Earths, a cultural movement influenced by Islam. Jackson describes Rikers as “a nightmare” and “a horror story,” with abusive staff, terrible food, and a toxic culture of violence. (Summary written by: Annie Anderson)

Interview Date: 11/15/19

Partner Organization: The Doe Fund

Interviewer: Jenny Goldberg 

Tags: re-incarceration, personal history of incarceration, youth incarceration, Rikers in the 80s, intake, social interactions in prison, young people incarcerated with adults, violence in prison, prison facilities, Rikers in the 90s, threats and fears, violence normalization, defense mechanisms, coping mechanisms, gangs, bloods, crips, turtle squad, correction officers, officers’ abuse, poor living conditions, emotional impact of visitation, going to court, network of support, NYC policies, officers’ accountability, impact on outside relationships, psychological impact of incarceration, close Rikers, visitation process, impact on communities, reparations, detainees exploitation, Rikers Island, Incarceration, Prison abolition, New York City, Oral history, Rikers Public Memory Project, RPMP

To read the transcript of this interview, click here