Rikers Island to soon deliver food directly to inmates

Room service is coming to Rikers Island. 

The beleaguered jail complex is set to close down their commissary store in favor of a new, digital ordering system described as a jailhouse “Uber Eats” that’ll deliver food and other sundries directly to detainees, an internal memo obtained by The Post shows. 

The memo, sent by Commissioner Louis Molina on Tuesday, provides few details about the new program but the top boss promised a “seamless” rollout that’ll kick off “this spring.” 

“They pick what they want and it gets delivered to them,” a jailhouse source dished. 

“It’s supposed to be like Amazon.” 

The new service will let inmates place commissary orders using the telephones in their housing unit. They’ll then have the items delivered directly to them.

“It is time for this agency to move into the 21st century and leverage technology and best practices that simply make sense,” Molina explained in the memo. 

“We are in the process of finalizing the procedures for a seamless rollout, that will not disrupt day-to-day facility operations. However, we wanted our staff to be aware first before we make any official public announcements.” 

Department of Corrections Commissioner Louis Molina sent out an internal memo about the new system that is set to debut “this spring.”
Gregory P. Mango for NY Post
A view of the paper commissary request form at Riker’s Island currently uses.
The new service will replace the paper version, which required detainees to pick up their items in person.

Currently, detainees must fill out a paper order form and pick up their items in person at a commissary store within the jail. Offerings include beef sticks, sardines, coffee, hot chocolate, chili, cookies, potato chips, candy, hygiene items, playing cards and greeting cards, among other options. 

However, jailhouse sources said the bulk of the 80 or so items that are listed on the order sheet are frequently out of stock and detainees only have access to a handful of items on any given day. 

It’s not clear if the new system will provide increased and improved access to goods, or if detainees will still be hampered by the slim pickings. 

A DOC spokesperson said the new system will provide a greater range of choices to detainees. 

“Phone-based commissary services are common throughout corrections. This modernization of commissary will give people in custody a greater choice of items and help bring our operations into the 21st century,” the spokesperson said, adding further details will be announced in the coming weeks.