After Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, correction commissioner Dora Schriro her Rikers Island jail, and those who call it home, to work, reports the New York Times. Inmates did 6,600 pounds of laundry for people in emergency shelters. The jail supplied generators and gas to fuel them to neighborhoods in the dark, and donated long underwear usually given to inmates. Officers with medical training provided emergency care to victims.
Schriro saw firsthand what the storm had done to the Rockaways, a place that is home to some inmates and guards. She mobilized correction officers to deliver truckloads of canned and dried goods from the island’s food supply and to use emergency relief supplies from jail warehouses, including bottled water and blankets. The agency delivered clothing to relief centers, including jackets kept for inmates. Correction officers picked up sheets, blankets, towels, and clothes from a dozen shelters in storm-struck parts of the city. The items were returned laundered within hours. It was the first time Rikers’s laundry was used to help in a citywide emergency. A new washing machine in the jail does 2,000 pounds of wash in 90 minutes.