Food in Infamous Rikers Island Prison Laced With Rat Poison, Tests Show

© Flickr / peterkrederRikers Island- Queens, NY. 2007
Rikers Island- Queens, NY. 2007 - Sputnik International
An American prison notorious for its poor treatment of inmates now faces new allegations of depravity. Lab tests conducted for a class action suit filed against Rikers Island has revealed trace amounts of rodenticide in the prison’s meatloaf.

A report from January of this year found that guards in the Rikers Island prison complex were involved in a record number of unnecessary use-of-force incidents in 2014. With 406 documented instances in September alone, the year’s total reached 4,074.

This is one of several examples of Rikers’ sordid history, and given that record, perhaps the latest development is unsurprising.

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Then again, poisoning prisoners may set new, ridiculously low bar.

According to lab testing done by an attorney for 22 inmates suing the New York City Department of Correction, a sample of meatloaf taken from the prison tested positive for Brodifacoum, a highly lethal poison commonly used as a rodenticide.

The case stems from an incident, when the inmates were served a meal of meatloaf, vegetables, bread, and juice.  

"Approximately…somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes, they all started to get sick in some fashion," attorney Joanne Squillace told PIX11.

Investigating the incident, assistant corrections commissioner Patricia Feeney conducted an inspection and "observed green and blue specks of an unknown substance on this sample."

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The lawsuit filed by Squillace on behalf of her clients in Brooklyn Federal Court alleges that the inmates suffered nausea, bleeding, and vomiting, and were denied proper medical care.

In response to the lab results, a spokesman for the city law department insisted more time was needed before people jump to conclusions.

"It is premature to draw any conclusions about these lab results because they have not been turned over to the City for review and validation," he said. "We will continue to evaluate all the facts as we proceed with this ongoing case."

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