Lawsuit: Rikers Island Guards employed inmates as “World Tour” enforcers
The guards reportedly hired violent inmates to “punish” other recalcitrant inmates.
A recent lawsuit alleges that guards on Rikers Island hired inmates to act as violent enforcers.
The New York Daily News reports that 19-year-old plaintiff Jomonni Morris claims he was a victim as part of the prison officials’ “World Tour” program.
A “world tour,” explains the Daily News, is a particularly brutal form of punishment for inmates alleged to be on the wrong side of Rikers Island proofreaders. When Morris was sent “on tour” he was often moved between units in the New York Prison – units where guards knew Morris would be vulnerable to attack.
Officials allegedly allowed other members on Morris’ block to enter his cell, steal his belongings and repeatedly attack him.
According to the New York Daily News, the “World Tour” is not a new program. The lawsuit alleges that the “Tour” is a derivative of “The Program,” a similar form of punishment uncovered by the Bronx Attorney’s Office in 2008.
The program, which emerged from the Robert N. Davoren Complex in Rikers, was a secret group led by guards who granted violent privileges to preferred prisoners. Under the supervision of correction officers, inmate members of “The Team” were given a free hand to blackmail and brutalize inmates who had fallen out of favor.
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“The Team” was also tasked with maintaining some sort of jungle order at Rikers and punishing other unruly inmates.
The Bronx prosecutor charged and sentenced two law officers and seven inmates for the death of 18-year-old Christopher Robinson, who was fatally beaten for refusing to play on “The Program”.
In his lawsuit, Morris says he is very familiar with the purpose and design of the new “World Tour” because his mother previously worked on Rikers Island.
“I learned from my son that he has been put on the world tour, which means that inmates are represented by correction officers to check certain inmates. Inmates are being moved from area to area to be followed by these MPs, “Morris’ mother Darlene Pounder told the New York Daily News. “I heard from some colleagues that ‘the World Tour’ is the new name for ‘the Program’.”
Morris, the news adds, is being held for two attempted murders. His lawsuit alleges that Riker’s officials set an example for him because his mother previously worked in the same facility.
After Morris was selected for punishment, he was taken to a violent unit where his belongings were stolen from his cell. He was later attacked by an inmate and broken his jaw. The attacks culminated after Morris was jumped by another prisoner who slapped him in the face with a makeshift knife, leaving a cut that required 100 stitches to seal.
Katherine Smith and Michael LaGiudice, lawyers for the Morris family, said the New York system of prisons and jails is encouraging officials to take justice into their own hands.
“The city has long had a policy of allowing correction officers – and indeed incentives – to take the law into their own hands,” the couple said in a statement. “When correction officers use other inmates like their own private gang to attack inmates on their behalf, they are continuing the cruelty and violence that plagues Rikers Island.
“The cycle must be stopped.”
Rikers Island correction officers “represent” preferred inmates as violent enforcers and send victims on the “world tour” of the prison’s residential units where they are vulnerable to attack
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