What is Rikers Island?

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman who is serving a 7 ½-year prison sentence on bank and tax fraud charges in a minimum-security facility in Pennsylvania will be transferred to New York City’s infamous Riker’s Island later this week, a source close to Manafort told Fox News.

Since its inception in 1932, the 400-acre island situated behind LaGuardia Airport, has housed some of the 20th century’s most violent criminals including David Berkowitz and Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon.

Rikers Island, located behind LaGuardia airport, contains 9 of New York City's 13 jail facilities. 

Rikers Island, located behind LaGuardia airport, contains 9 of New York City's 13 jail facilities.  (cuny.edu)

Rikers, which accounts for nine of the 13 facilities in New York City’s jail system, holds roughly 10,000 inmates daily but nearly 80,000 cycle through all year, according to the New York Times. At the height of the crack epidemic in the 1980s and early 1990s, the inmate population was nearly double what it is today, the paper said.

But despite millions dedicated to either reforming Rikers -- or shutting it down altogether – violence and corruption have climbed in recent years.

Data from the New York City Department of Corrections shows an increase in jail guard use of force (UOF) in its facilities. Between January and June of 2016, the UOF rate was 3.75 per 1,000 inmates. Two years later, that rate stood at 6.71.

Meanwhile, fights across all of New York City’s jail -- of which Rikers Island contains the majority – grew by 207 percent between Fiscal 2008 and 2018, according to department data. Between Fiscal 2015 and Fiscal 2018, fights and assaults grew by 47 percent.

A Times investigation published in 2014 found that nearly 130 inmates were hospitalized after fights with correction officers in less than one year. And in 2017, The Times reported that at least 40 percent of the inmates had been diagnosed with an untreated mental illness of some kind.


Citing these problems, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed in 2017 to shutter Rikers Island and replace it with “at least a few new facilities” within the next decade.


Manafort’s transfer – which is expected as early as Thursday – was ordered by a New York State judge at the request of New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. Manafort will be held in solitary confinement for his own protection, the source told Fox News.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Jake Gibson, and Eddie DeMarche contributed to this report.