Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Police Raid [Roosevelt] Island Prison

Seventy years ago this week, On March 1, 1939, Warner Brothers premiered the film "Blackwell's Island" starring John Garfield. The movie focuses on one repoprter's quest and the eventual raid made by the police upon the prison which was at that time on Blackwell's Island (later Welfare Island and now Roosevelt Island).

The NY Times review stated that it was a "sound melodrama ... and amusing, too, in a cynical way". The movie was loosely based on the actual 1934 raid that revealed widespread corruption at the prison. It was the actual 1934 raid that prompted NYC to soon after move all the inmates off Blackwell's Island into the new prison buildings built at Riker's Island abandoning Blackwell's Island where the site was later razed and upon which was built Goldwater Hospital.

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