Unspeakable Times
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13 Famous Prisoners of Rikers Island

Updated February 26, 2021 139.8k views13 items

List of Famous Prisoners at Rikers Island ranked by fame and notoriety. Rikers Island is New York City's main jail complex and has an inmate population of 12,300. Rikers Island is a jail, not a prison, which means that it holds offenders who are awaiting trial and do not have bail, individuals serving sentences less than a year and people that are pending transfer to another facility. Through the years Rikers Island has been host to many famous prisoners.

Who is the most famous prisoner at Rikers Island. Young Money rapper Lil Wayne tops our list. Weezy spent eight months at Rikers Island after pleading guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. Another rap legend, Tupac Shakur spent a portion of his eight month jail sentence at Rikers Island. Pac was charged with sexual assault for holding a female fan down while another man sexually assaulted her. Shakur always denied involvement with the incident.

Sex Pistol's member Sid Vicious was sent to Rikers Island twice. The first time after his girlfriend Nancy Spungen was found dead from a stab wound in the Chelsea Hotel. Vicious was charged with murder and released on bail. He made his second trip to Rikers that same year after getting in a fight at a NYC nightclub. This time he spent seven weeks at Rikers and was found dead of a drug overdose the morning after his release.

Why do you think so many members of the music industry spend time at Rikers Island? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
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  • Tupac Shakur
    Photo: MTV Networks and Amaru Entertainment / Wikipedia / Fair Use
    Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Much of Shakur's work has been noted for addressing contemporary social issues that plagued inner cities, and he is considered a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality.Shakur was born in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City but relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1988. He later moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to further pursue his music career. By the time he released his debut album 2Pacalypse Now in 1991, he had...  more
    • Age: Dec. at 25 (1971-1996)
    • Birthplace: East Harlem, New York City, New York, United States of America

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  • Sid Vicious (born John Simon Ritchie, 10 May 1957 – 2 February 1979) was an English bassist and vocalist. He achieved fame as a member of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols, replacing Glen Matlock, who had fallen out of favour with the rest of the group. Due to intravenous drug use, Vicious was hospitalised with hepatitis during the recording of the Sex Pistols' only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols; his bass is only partially featured on one song - "Bodies". Vicious later appeared as a lead vocalist, performing three songs, on the soundtrack to The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, a largely fictionalised documentary about the Sex Pistols. As the Sex Pistols were...  more
    • Age: Dec. at 22 (1957-1979)
    • Birthplace: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom

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  • David Berkowitz - The Son of Sam
    Photo: Unknown / Wikipedia / Fair Use
    David Richard Berkowitz (born Richard David Falco; June 1, 1953), also known as the Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, is an American serial killer who pleaded guilty to eight separate shooting attacks that began in New York City during the summer of 1976. Using a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver, he killed six people and wounded seven others by July 1977. As the number of victims increased, Berkowitz eluded the biggest police manhunt in the history of New York City while leaving letters that mocked the police and promised further crimes, which were highly publicized by the press. The killing spree terrorized New Yorkers and achieved worldwide notoriety. On the night of August 10, 1977,...  more
    • Age: 67
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York

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  • Mark David Chapman
    Photo: Unknown / Wikipedia / Fair Use
    Mark David Chapman (born May 10, 1955) is an American criminal who murdered English musician John Lennon, formerly of the Beatles, on December 8, 1980 outside Lennon's residence at the Dakota apartment building in Manhattan. Chapman fired five shots at Lennon with a Charter Arms .38 special revolver, hitting him four times in the back. For the next few minutes, Chapman remained at the scene reading J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye until he was arrested by police. He planned to cite the novel as his manifesto. Raised in Decatur, Georgia, Chapman had been a fan of the Beatles, but was incensed by Lennon's lifestyle and public statements, such as his remark about the Beatles being...  more
    • Age: 65
    • Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas

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