Rikers Island is New York City’s main prison complex, and the name of the 413.17 acre island on which it sits. The island lies in the East River between Queens and the Bronx, adjacent to the runways of LaGuardia Airport. The prison complex has a staff of 7,000 officers and 1,500 civilians to control an inmate population of 14,000.
The island is thought to be named after Abraham Rycken, a Dutch settler who moved to Long Island in 1638 and whose descendants owned Rikers Island until 1884, when it was sold to the city. It has been used as a prison ever since.