Former Prisoners Recall Their Haunting Experiences in New Documentary 'Rikers'

Rather than reporting directly on the horrors inside Rikers, Bill Moyers, Marc Levin, Mark Benjamin, and Rolake Bamgbose decided to take a different approach in documenting the effects of the prison where nearly 10,000 inmates live.


"We set out to listen to the stories of men and women who had once been incarcerated at Rikers," Moyers said about the team's new film, Rikers

Watch: Exclusive Clip: "Entering"

"These individuals bear witness to their experience in their own words, and the result is a powerful documentary that gets to the core of the Rikers experience. Even if you find it hard to watch, as many have, I know you will find it revealing, and it is for many reasons a fitting place to start if one wishes to understand the crisis of incarceration in America," Moyers explained.

Watch: Exclusive Clip: "Solitary"

"The officers just said, 'Those of you who've been here before, you already know what to expect. For those of you who have not been here before, this is your first time, tighten your pants,'" Ralph Núñez recalled. 

"They got us inside the door, closed the gate behind us, unshackled, took the cuffs off, sent us in a room... this was my first time getting strip-searched in a roomful of men, I couldn't believe this sh*t was happening," Marcell Neil said. 

Watch: Exclusive Clip: "Culture of Violence"

"You walk in, in between two doors, you see this gate and then, on the other side of that is a dayroom, and then there's other adolescents on the other side," Dedric Hammond described. "They're looking through the gate. In their minds, it's like, 'We've got a victim now. Fresh meat.'"

"Rikers" airs on WNET November 15 at 10pm and re-airs November 20 at 10pm.

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