Inside The Dark Underbelly of Rikers Island “A Retired Female Correction Officer Speaks Out”



I worked on Rikers Island for a short period in my career and I can tell you its worst than people could possibly imagine. It was horrible unclean and depressing.
I started working on Rikers Island in May 1983 in New York City Correctional Institution for Men. I was 21 years old, enthusiastic and in high spirits. I had a good paying job in law enforcement and enjoyed going to work.
Working in an all male prison was a walk in the park; literally. I grew up in the Brownsville housing projects, so for me, it was like walking down Stone Avenue. I recognized many faces and was never afraid to walk within the realm of incarcerated men.
The high spirits and enthusiasm began to diffuse. I never imagined I would be subjected to verbal, physical and emotional abuse by my colleagues. In less than two years, I would be assaulted by one of my male colleagues, treated like shit by some of my female colleagues, targeted like a runway at a bus stop, and ran off Rikers Island by a womanizing Warden.

Contrary to what people think I did not want to leave Rikers Island because I met my future husband, Correction Officer Ronnie Purvis.
However I didn’t have a choice because Warden “Hollywood” Bains, was going after my job. I don’t think he appreciated my response, when he approached my work area (annex lower gate) and snapped his finger and pointed for me to unlock the steel gate, to enable him to walk through.
That prompted me to laugh in his face hysterically. Yes it was unprofessional, but I am not fido, and snapping your fingers and pointing for me to open a gate was not the proper way an officer should be instructed, by a superior officer; case closed.
Obviously the Warden didn’t appreciate my reluctance to bow down like some of my female and male colleagues, who feared him; so he begin gunning for me. I knew had I not transferred out, I would have been set up and fired.