Rikers Island in New York City has been going through a “summer of hell” as staffing problems continue to plague and worsen the living and working conditions inside the infamous correctional prison.

“The officers are losing their minds,” rapper 2 Milly, who is serving a sentence for a gun charge, said. “It’s the same guard for 24 hours. They’re sweating bullets, not getting meal breaks. I start feeling bad for them after a while.”

Rikers Island is going through a severe staff shortage as officers are forced to work triple or quadruple shifts to ensure that the prisoners are watched at all times. This shortage also sometimes means that entire patrol areas are unguarded by officers, the New York Post reported.

“One of my captains in AMKC called a housing area and the inmates answered the phone,” Patrick Ferraiuolo from the Correctional Captains’ Association said.

“[The inmate] said ‘Hey how you doing captain? The officer went home, he was tired, he was going into his triple or fourth tour and he left, he left us here alone.’ So it’s a housing area with no correctional officer watching over them,” he related.

The staff crunch has compounded issues within the prison that remain unchecked, from a stabbing incident between rival gangs to an Aug. 10 inmate suicide that is currently still under investigation, the New York Daily News reported.

According to another report, there was also no water in the prison facilities that rapper 2 Milly was in.

“There was more than 30 of us, no shower, barely ate. We were subjected to mace because of other people fighting. No water,” he continued.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi has blamed the staff shortage on missing officers who are either on sick leave or have not shown up for their shift. He has instituted a stricter sick leave policy that his department says is working to get workers back.

However, Correction Captains' Association's Patrick Ferraiuolo completely disagrees with the commissioner's sentiment.

“The officers are not coming to work because they can’t, they’re doing three tours and then they’re expected to come back 10 hours later because the guidelines give them 10 hours between tours to come back and do three more tours,” he said.

The department plans to hire an additional 400 officers in the coming months to increase the security in their facility.

Rikers Island continues to descend into chaos due to a staffing problem that sees prisons largely unmanned by officers. This is a representational image. Damir Spanic/Unsplash.

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