Brooklyn rapper 2 Milly claims that two units at Rikers Island prison were left unsupervised for more than 24 hours this week due to crippling personnel shortages. Instead, the unit’s 80 inmates essentially ran the show. “I’ve been answering the phones,” the rapper, who is serving a sentence for firearm possession, told New York Daily News. He also noted that inmates have been helping each other arrange transportation to court and set up for video conferences.
Department of Corrections officials declined to comment to the Daily News about the two units but did acknowledge the personnel shortages, which a spokesperson blamed on a recent swath of officers either calling in sick or simply not showing up to work. Staff shortages at Rikers have been an ongoing issue, especially as the inmate population has doubled since mid-2019. It has led to “unreasonably high” levels of violence, according to a federal monitor, as well as an alarming spike in inmate suicides.