April 1, 2020
Inmates in New York City’s Rikers Island prison are being offered $6 an hour and personal protective equipment to dig mass graves on Hart Island, a spokesperson for the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed.
Prisoners have been digging graves on the island in the Long Island Sound for years but the offer of $6 an hour is far above the general prison wage.
The mass graves are not COVID-19 specific, spokesperson Avery Cohen told The Intercept, but morgues and cemeteries have already become overwhelmed as the city’s death toll rose to 1,096 on Tuesday night.
Hart Island had previously been identified as part of a 2008 contingency plan for the city that would see Rikers Island prisoners dig mass graves to bury up to 51,000 bodies in the event of a severe pandemic.
The news comes as Rikers Island’s chief physician issued a grim warning Tuesday about the coronavirus pandemic in the prison.
This article was posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 5:09 am