With the goal of getting “as many reusable cloth masks to incarcerated people as fast as possible,” a group have launched the Rikers Mask Project. The group is constituted of current and former QC students and associate Zeke Luger, Sarielle Luger, and Bobbie Harder-Hyde respectively.

Using a Department of Corrections-approved pattern, the masks must be made entirely from soft components. If you’ve ever visited Rikers you’d know most items rigid in shape can be considered a “contraband.” There is a sign posted before one reaches the parking lot/visitor waiting area at the Queens-side of the Rikers Island Bridge that is a smorgasbord of things people have in their pockets most days: currency, gum, “electronic devices,” (imagine leaving the house without your cellphone in order to be allowed to visit someone in jail); also anything glass, metal, or even aluminum foil; let alone actual contraband like explosives.

With the strict guidelines for NYCDOC-approved masks in place, the Rikers Mask Project team are soliciting donations of cloth masks (neutral colors only), and providing templates on their website.

If you’re inclined to assist you can get in touch with them directly: rikersmasks@gmail.com

Because “A jail sentence should not be a death sentence.”

Here is an interactive timeline of articles (mostly from the NYTimes – which QC students can access for free with their .edu account) addressing COVID-19/coronavirus on Rikers Island: