While political leaders argue about the best way to close it, Rikers Island continues to be a violent hellhole. The latest confirmation of this comes from reports that an inmate commited multiple rapes of her fellow prisoners while jail guards actively failed to stop her.
The Daily News reports that Alexandra James, an inmate at Rikers, was hit with a 136-count indictment for raping two prisoners in the jail, including the mother of Zymere Perkins. The alleged rapes happened between October of last year and April of this year, according to the indictment. James is also accused of breaking the wrist of an inmate who reported her abuse to jail guards.
Prosecutors claim that James's attacks on Perkins were caught on Rikers surveillance cameras, and Perkins is suing the city over the attacks, which her lawyer claims were allowed to happen because guards used James as an "enforcer."
"This indictment does not address the serious institutional failure of Rikers Island to protect my client," Perkins's lawyer Aaron Rubin told the paper.
The Times had more information about the indictment, which contained accusations that James used a "makeshift sexual device" in each rape.
James's other alleged victim is suing the city as well, and like Perkins, is claiming that prison guards knew about the assaults and even assisted with them. In one of the rapes, the victim claims that Rikers guards unlocked a cell door to allow her to enter, and in another instance says she was raped in a locked kitchen pantry
"They knew these women were being abused, raped and terrorized by Ms. James and they let that go," Paul V. Prestia, the victim's lawyer told the Times. "The fact that Ms. James was indicted is no surprise. The real question is does the Bronx district attorney have the spine to prosecute the corrections officers who let this happen."
Rubin told the Times that jail guards purposefully put Perkins in a cell with James, and called for a civil rights investigation into the two women's allegations.