Homeless, Even in Death

Friday is the longest night of the year, and Picture the Homeless is hosting its annual vigil to honor homeless people who have died. In New York City, unclaimed bodies get buried in unmarked mass graves on Hart Island. Visitors are not permitted, reports Gothamist: “Prisoners on Rikers Island perform the burials for 50 cents an hour, and the deceased are stacked atop one another, 150 to a pit, in a practice carried over from the 19th century. ‘Sometimes they dig up portions of earth that already have bodies in them,’ notes Frank Clark, a former Rikers inmate who now works with PTH. That procedure has been disputed by the DOC, but Clark says he has firsthand knowledge of the practice. ‘I know they do that, because I worked the detail. It’s true.’”

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