Justice

Watch ‘RIKERS: An American Jail’

A riveting new film from Bill Moyers and team brings you face to face with what it's like to be incarcerated in the United States.

Watch 'RIKERS: An American Jail'

After broadcast on PBS stations in May, 2017, the RIKERS is now streaming at RIKERSfilm.org.

Hundreds of organizations are now hosting screening events. If you would like to plan a group screening, request a free DVD by contacting Colby Kelly at kellyc@publicsquaremedia.org.

The United States is facing a crisis of mass incarceration with over 2.2 million people packed into its jails and prisons. To understand the human toll of this crisis, Rikers Island is a good place to start. Of the more than 7,500 people detained at Rikers Island on any given day, almost 80 percent have not yet been found guilty or innocent of the charges they face.

All are at risk in the pervasive culture of violence that forces people to come to terms with what they must do for their own survival. RIKERS: An American Jail, a riveting new documentary from Bill Moyers, brings you face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told directly to camera, vividly describe the cruel arc of the Rikers experience — from the shock of entry to the extortion and control exercised by other inmates, the oppressive interaction with corrections officers, the beatings and stabbings, the torture of solitary confinement and the many challenges of returning to the outside world.

Since the initial release of RIKERS last fall, there has been widespread discussion and debate about the future of the prison complex. In April 2017, The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform released its recommendations and called for closing Rikers and replacing it with smaller jails in the city’s five boroughs.

Just prior to the report’s release New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed his prior position that closing Rikers Island Jail was not feasible and announced his support for closing Rikers, but said it will take a decade to do so.

Please be sure to visit the official RIKERS website for more information about the film, mass incarceration in America and efforts at criminal justice reform. Also, please like @RIKERSfilm on Facebook and follow @RIKERSfilm on Twitter to get the latest information and contribute to the already robust online community talking about the film.

RIKERS, which recently won a 2017 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award, is a production of Schumann Media Center, Inc. and Brick City TV LLC, in association with Public Square Media, Inc. Produced by Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, with producer Rolake Bamgbose. Edited by Jason Pollard. Director of Photography Mark Benjamin. Executive Producer, Judy Doctoroff O’Neill. Executive Editor, Bill Moyers.