Hey, batterers: Do me a favor. Move to New York City. There are five boroughs, it’s a big place. So just move ANYWHERE in New York City. Please .
Since last year all prisoner calls there, save for those to physicians or their attorneys, have been recorded, and boy have they been helpful to domestic violence prosecutors. Here’s what these face-burning, chick-punching, child-abusing sphincters say to their victims while staring at an “All Calls Are Taped” sign:
“I need you to prepare the kids to start lying.”
“Whatever you do … do not speak to the D.A.”
“I just stuck her like a little.”
It’s hard to choose, but this one might be my fave: “I need you right now in my corner,” begged Eric Persaud, the man charged with branding his girlfriend’s cheeks with [an] iron. He had a strategy, he said: She should vanish for the trial. ” ‘I’m smarter than you,’ he said in one of what prosecutors have said were 437 calls from Rikers Island.”
According to the Times , 1,200 such calls seems to be the record. Given that 75 percent of victims drop their cases or stop cooperating before trial, these tapes have been crucial in proceeding without a victim and in convincing juries of just how the abusers go about controlling their prey.
Liberal/libertarian as I am, I can’t imagine running a jail whose inmates could concoct all the escape, violence, and smuggling schemes they saw fit, so I see no way around reading their mail and listening in on their calls. For months at a time over the years, I’ve visited and traded letters and phone calls with the incarcerated and certainly assumed we were being monitored. I’ve sent inmates weeks’ worth of letters and hundreds of dollars worth of books (they must come directly from the publisher) that “never arrived.” There needs to be a way for inmates to get word out of abuse and the like, though unmonitored phone calls to anyone at all are not that way.
But catching these perps with their own words? Not too shabby.