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April 29, 2013 11:45 am

Yelp Prison Review: “Say You’re Jewish” If You End Up at Rikers Island

avatar by Zach Pontz

Rikers Island. Photo: Wikipedia.

If you’re looking to spend some time at New York’s Rikers Island, it would help to tell officials there that you’re Jewish. This, according to one Yelp user who reviewed the infamous jail.

“Things you MUST remember: No matter what religion you (really) are/aren’t, say you’re “Jewish,” says Yelp reviewer U.N.O.

“Why? Because, you’ll get a box of Matzoh (‘crackers, as some call it), a bottle of grape juice (both weekly) and, you’ll get a trip  to meet the Rabbi (A VERY nice man who lets you use his phone).”

The entry is part of a new wave of jail reviews on Yelp, a popular consumer reviews site. According to the Washington Post, with few other outlets for complaints, inmates and even some lawyers are turning to the site to voice their dissatisfaction (and sometimes satisfaction) with their experience in detention.

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Despite the humorous overtones of many of the entries, some argue that the reviews are more helpful than not.

“Prisons and jails are closed institutions, and the lack of outside scrutiny and oversight sometimes facilitates mistreatment and abuse,” David Fathi, director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Washington Post.

“So anything that increases public awareness of prison conditions is a positive thing.”


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