What century is this?
The Brooklyn Paper reports that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is unabashedly using chain gangs from Rikers Island as free labor for his controversial concert series at Asser Levy Park. The prisoners even have to wear red and white-striped uniforms.
“It saves me money, that’s the motivation for having them!” said Debra Garcia, who is in charge of the Beep’s concerts. “It saves about a few thousand dollars a week.”
Under the “Cool Hand Luke”-style program, the inmates set up 2,000 seats at the front of the park’s bandshell near Surf Avenue and West Fifth Street hours before the show. The next morning, the inmates are returned to the spot to collect the chairs.
The work detail for prisoners – which also takes place at Wingate Field in Crown Heights as part of Markowitz’s Martin Luther King Jr. concert series – appears to be the only one of its kind in Brooklyn.
A Department of Correction official said that there are only two other chain gang-style work crews in the city – both near Rikers Island.
Read the whole rather astounding article here.