RIKERS, “ROSIE’S”, & RAPE

Tonight, we give you an unsettling look at Rosie’s, Rikers Island women’s jail, where inmates are often sexual prey not to other prisoners but to the guards.

Aired on July 13, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> IF YOU HAVE YOUNG CHILDREN WATCHING RIGHT NOW, YOU MAY WANT TO HAVE THEM STEP OUT FOR THE NEXT SEGMENT BECAUSE OF THE GRAPHIC NATURE.

THE ROSE M SINGER CENTER IS THE CITY'S MAIN JAIL FOR FEMALE DETAINEES KNOWN AS ROSIES, THE FACILITY HAS BEEN AT THE CENTER OF DISTURBING ACCUSATIONS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ON THE PART OF BOTH INMATES AND STAFF.

A RECENT DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE STUDY FOUND THAT ABOUT 50 OF THE 800 WOMEN HOUSED AT ROSIES WERE BEING SEXUALLY VICTIMIZED BY STAFF MEMBERS MAKING THE FACILITY ONE OF THE WORST JAILS IN THE COUNTRY.

RAPE AT ROSIES, A STORY IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF NEW YORK MAGAZINE LAYS OUT A HARROWING PICTURE OF ASSAULT AND ABUSE WITH MINIMAL ACCOUNTABILITY.

THE PIECE FOLLOWS INMATE DARCEL MARSHALL THAT WON A $1.2 MILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CITY.

THE COMPLAINT ALLEGED AMONG OTHER THINGS THAT MARSHALL AND ANOTHER INMATE WERE REPEATEDLY RAPED BY A GUARD AND ACCUSED THE CITY OF GIVING CORRECTION OFFICERS A PERCEIVED FREE HAND TO RETALIATE AGAINST WOMEN THAT REPORTED THEM.

JOINING ME IS JON TUCKER, A CRIMINAL JUSTICE REPORTER THAT WROTE THE PIECE FOR THE NEW YORK MAGAZINE.

JOHN, WELCOME TO YOU.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

FIRST QUESTION FOR YOU IS THIS.

WHAT WAS IT THAT BROUGHT YOU TO THIS STORY?

SURE, YOU KNOW, I WAS LOOKING AT THE ME TOO MOVEMENT AND SAW THIS RECKONING HIT PLACES LIKE HOLLYWOOD AND CAPITOL HILL AND THE MEDIA INDUSTRY, BUT I WAS ALSO THINKING ABOUT OTHER SPACES THAT WE HADN'T REALLY EXPLORED IN TERMS OF HOW THIS WAS AFFECTING THEM ONE BEING HOUSING AND DETENTION WHERE ARGUABLY THE POWER BETWEEN THOSE WHO HAVE IT AND THOSE WHO DON'T IS GREATER THAN THOSE OTHER ARENAS THAT WE DISCUSSED.

SO THAT TO ME WAS KIND OF A STARTING POINT, AND I SAW THAT -- I SAW A NEWS CLIP FROM LAST YEAR SAYING THE SETTLEMENT SEEMED TO BE A MAJOR CASE.

I KNOW IT WAS THE LAWSUIT WAS LAUNCHED IN THE CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT.

IT WAS LAUNCHED BY TWO ANONYMOUS JANE DOE ONES SO I WASN'T SURE IF IT WAS SETTLED ONE OF THE JANE DOES MIGHT WANT TO TAKE THE TIME AND KIND OF, THE HISTORY OF WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT TO TELL THEIR STORY AND HAVE THEIR VOICE BE HEARD AND THAT'S HOW I GOT CONNECTED TO CDARCEL MARSHALL.

I WANT TO GET TO THE STORY IN A MINUTE.

DID YOU FIND WE HAVE ANY REAL CONCRETE IDEA OF HOW PERVASIVE THE SEXUAL ASSAULTS ARE WITHIN THE WOMEN'S FACILITIES?

NO, I MEAN, IT'S REALLY UNDER LITERALLY UNDER LOCK AND KEY.

WE HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF DATA THAT UNFORTUNATELY DOESN'T TRACK EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

THE MOST RECENT FEDERAL DATA WE HAVE COMES FROM A 2013 DOJ STUDY THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT MARSHALL WAS HOUSED THERE.

WE HAVE INMATES WHO ARE VERY, VERY TERRIFIED TO TALK ABOUT IT EVEN AMONG THEMSELVES.

SO I DID SPEAK TO FEMALE INMATES.

THEY TALKED ABOUT IT A LITTLE BIT AND THEN YOU HAVE LAWYERS WHO ARE KNEE-DEEP ENTRENCHED IN THESE CASES AND THOSE LAWYERS SAY THAT IT'S SYSTE SYSTEMIC AN WOMEN ARE FEARFUL OF REPORTING IT AND SOME PEOPLE THINK IT'S NORMAL AND STANDARD PRACTICE PART OF BEING IN PRISON.

LET ME TALK ABOUT DARCEL MARSHALL, THE CENTER PIECE OF THE STORY AND SHE LIVED A FAIRI LIFE.

SHE WAS IN THE SEX INDUSTRY AND HAD BEEN, HAD SOME CONVICTIONS BEFORE SHE FOUND HERSELF IN ROSIES AS IT'S DESCRIBED.

SHE TALKS VERY CANDIDLY TO YOU IN YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT HOW SHE GOT INVOLVED INITIALLY WITH A CONSENSUAL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A JAIL GUARD.

IT WAS SORT OF THE CURRENCY, IF YOU WOULD, TRANSACTIONAL IN THE FACILITY.

SHE GOT MONEY OR SHE GOT THINGS THAT SHE COULD USE THERE AS A CONSEQUENCE AND THEN IT GOT TO THE POINT THAT SHE ALLEGES WHERE IT BECAME MUCH MORE FORCIBLE AND INDEED, ACTUAL RAPE ACCORDING TO HER.

YEAH.

HOW DID YOU FIND HER AND WAS SHE ORIGINALLY TO THE NOTION OF TELLING HER STORY?

SHE WAS.

I DIDN'T THINK SHE WOULD WANT TO TALK BROKEN.

THERE IS A LOT OF SHAME AND VULNERABILITY.

I WAS PREPARED FOR SOME GRUELING CONVERSATIONS BUT WHEN I WENT TO VISIT HER IN NORTH CAROLINA, THE TRAMA WAS THERE AND SHE OPENED UP AND IT TOOK TIME AND CONVERSATIONS.

I FOUND HER VERY INTELLIGENT AND VERY CLEAR.

EUCLID PERSON WHO JUST HAD A COMPELLING AFFECTING STORY TO TELL JUST AS A STORY BUT PRESENTED IT IN SUCH A CLEAR AND COMPELLING WAY YOU COULDN'T HELP BUT BE DRAWN TO HER STORY AND JUST IN TERMS OF WHAT SHE TALKS ABOUT FROM HER OWN PREVIOUS LIFE, SHE IS FROM THE STREETS BASICALLY.

SHE WAS A FORMER SEX WORKER AND SHE TALKED IN SOMETIMES GRAPHIC DETAIL WHAT THAT MEANS, THE REALITY OF IT.

SHE MORE THAN ANYTHING KEEPS IT REAL.

SHE TELLS THE STRAIGHT TRUTH AND YOU CAN LIKE IT OR NOT BUT IT'S NOT SANITIZED IN ANY WAY.

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT SOME OF HER STORIES FROM HER PREVIOUS SEX WORK LIFE WHERE SHE HAD BEEN PILLED OUT BY SUCCESSION OF BAD MEN, DRUGS, RAPED, THROWN OUT OF MOVING CARS, YOU KNOW, THAT IS JUST KIND OF THE NATURAL THREAD LEADING TO HER POSITION IN ROSIES WHERE IT'S KIND OF NOT THAT DISSIMILAR TO WHAT LIFE ON THE STREET IS LIKE WITH MEN IN POSITIONS OVEF POWER WHO CAN LEVERAGE THE POWER TO GET WHAT THEY WANT AND YOU MAKE THE POINT THIS WAS A CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIP TO BEGIN WITH WITH THE GUARD BENNY SANTIAGO.

GO AHEAD.

THESE WOMEN ARE UNABLE TO CONCEPT.

I WANT TO SAY THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS IN RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST ABOUT A COMMENT BASED UPON THE STORY SAID ESSENTIALLY THEY ARE HOPEFULLY GOING TO DO BETTER.

I THINK THAT'S A FAIR CHARACTERIZATION OF PROTECTING INMATES HERE.

BASED UPON AGAIN YOUR RESEARCH AND WRITING HERE, ARE YOU AT ALL OPTIMISTIC THAT WE WILL SEE POSITIVE CHANGES TAKE PLACE?

I HOPE.

I'M A STRANGE BIRD BECAUSE I'M A JOURNALIST WHO TRIES TO LOOK AT THE GLASS HALF FULL.

I'M AN OPTIOPTIMIST.

THEY HAVE IREDINVESTIGATORS.

THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE CLEARED AND CLOSED IN 90 DAYS, SOMETHING IS WRONG.

IF YOU ASK THEM, THEY HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IS NOT THE WAY OF BUSINESS.

I HOPE IT CHANGES AND RAPE IN PRISON AND JAIL, WE DON'T TALK ABOUT WHO IT IS AFFECTING.

DARCEL MARSHALL WAS THE WRONG PERSON TO BE VICTIMIZED.

SHE'S COME A LONG WAY AND SINCE SHE'S BEEN WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT CIRCLE, SHE'S WRITTEN A BOOK.

CERTAINLY MOVED FORWARD AS A CONSEQUENCE.

JOHN, A REVEALING AND VERY POWERFUL AND COMPELLING ARTICLE.

THANK YOU FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

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