Poor Marty Markowitz can't seem to keep his beloved summer concert series at Asser Levy Park controversy-free this year. First they were too loud, and now the Brooklyn Paper reports that the Brooklyn Borough President has been using free labor courtesy of Rikers Island!
Allegedly this has been going on for years, but only recently did locals catch on. The inmates are bussed in, wear red and white striped jumpsuits, and help to set up and break down the chairs for the audience. One Brooklyn local told the paper, "People didn't realize what was going on before. Perhaps it's because they used to use state prisoners, and now they just started using city inmates with colorful uniforms."
A Department of Correction spokesman says "the inmates on the [concert series] assignment are low-security-risk inmates carefully selected for the assignment and carefully monitored while on assignment." And the city says it saves the non-profit running the shows thousands of dollars per event. This Thursday concert-goers, and inmates!, will get to enjoy The B-52s and singer Belinda Carlisle. Not bad, but we'd still trade it for work duty on Hart Island—another location that Rikers inmates are sent on assignment.