Newly released Rikers island inmates are buying booze and Juul pods with taxpayer money.
Newly sprung Rikers jailbirds are trying to liquor up on the city’s dime.
The ex-inmates have been flooding area booze shops, ever since the recent launch of a soft-on-crime city initiative that provides them with two $25 gift cards, merchants said Saturday.
JR, an employee at Paretti’s Liquor Store near the Q100 bus stop along the bus route from Rikers to Queens Plaza said her store was refusing to sell to the cardholders.
“We’ve had more people coming in with the visa things. No, we don’t take that, no gift cards, none of that. People come in here always trying to find a way to pay without really paying,” the employee told The Post.
The story was the same at City Sliquors, also along the Rikers bus route, where ex-inmates “didn’t seem to understand why” their payment wasn’t accepted, the owner of the spot said.
“Usually we don’t accept it because we don’t know where it came from with no chip, it may bounce,” he added.
While booze has been tough to obtain for the newly released, vendors reported that other goodies like Juul pods and tobacco products were within reach.
“Yet to see one person use it to buy food,” Ahmed, a worker at the Plaza Deli Grocery, noted.
In addition to the Metrocards and cash, plans are also in the works to set up newly released inmates with burner phones, the Post reported Saturday.
The handouts are part of a larger initiative from Mayor de Blasio that awards the swag to prisoners released under New York’s new bail reform law. The goal is to incentivize the jail birds to show up for their court appearances, but the scope of the program will cover anyone released from Department of Corrections custody, sources told The Post.
Other goodies will include winter coats, Steve Madden shoes and Mets tickets.
The programs are being run by city-funded non-profits and the whole initiative will cost $500,000, officials said.
This is completely insane. The fact that taxpayer money is going to fund these criminals falling back into there criminal lifestyle is unbelievable. They claim the cost is $500,000 but as we know with most government programs this only gets bigger.
Taxpayers should not be paying for the booze and Juul pods of convicted criminals. Thank God these business owners are doing there best to stop them from being used.
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