NEW YORK — Rikers Island jail facility was on lockdown Wednesday night after an inmate escaped, the city’s Department of Correction said.
At around 7:30 p.m., Department of Correction staff noticed that a headcount was off by one.
“This evening, on Rikers Island, it appears an inmate did not return from outdoor recreation,” agency spokesman Peter Thorne said in a statement late Wednesday. “A thorough investigation is underway, which includes an active search for this individual in coordination with NYPD. Rikers Island facilities have been placed on lockdown and we are talking to anyone who may be involved.”
The escape happened from the Anna M. Kross Center at the isolated penal colony between the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens, WPIX reported. It is believed the inmate jumped into the water surrounding the island.
For decades, complaints about horrific conditions, including murder, rats, inedible food and corruption, have plagued the facility, located a short distance from LaGuardia International Airport. In March, Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed his position that he would never close the facility, saying that the jail complex would close over the course of a decade.
The June 2015 suicide of teen Kalief Browder, who spent three years at the complex for allegedly stealing a backpack, drew attention to the conditions at Rikers. Browder never stood trial and was never found guilty. A documentary on his case helped draw a spotlight on problems at the facility.
There is only one city bus that takes people to and from the island. That bus has been halted during the lockdown, WPIX reported.
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