Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Launch Site Once Held the Worst Prison in the World


TIME

On Saturday, Hillary Clinton will celebrate the official launch of her presidential campaign in a part of New York City that may be unfamiliar to many non-residents: Roosevelt Island. The narrow stretch of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens is named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Clinton’s staff has noted that the candidate has long been inspired by FDR and his wife Eleanor.

But the island wasn’t always a political homage. Early names included Minnahanonck, Hog Island, Blackwell’s Island and, as of 1921, Welfare Island. And Welfare Island was, as TIME noted in 1934, “not a nice place to visit and nobody would want to live there.” It was home to the New York County Penitentiary, which the state’s Commissioner of Correction had just proclaimed the worst prison in the world, and a “vicious circle of depravity that is almost beyond the ability of the imagination…

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