Hardened criminals at Rikers Island were so furious about a bedtime crackdown that forced them to miss their favorite Monday night TV shows, they erupted into a riot Monday night — forcing guards to blast them with pepper spray, Department of Corrections sources told The Post.
On the first night the new 9 p.m. bedtime was enforced, 68 jailbirds in a “high security” wing of the jail went berserk — lashing out at guards and refusing to enter their cells, the sources said.
The new rule — which was first reported by The Post — sent inmates at George R. Vierno Center to bed without popular shows, including new episodes of CBS’s “Under the Dome,” ABC’s “Mistresses” and Fox’s “Hotel Hell,” the sources said.
“They went nuts because they are being locked up at 9 p.m. and missing all of their favorite TV shows,” a Department of Corrections source said.
“Rikers is on the brink — it’s completely out of control. Inmates are running the asylum,” the source admitted.
Inmates had been allowed to stay up until 11 p.m. and usually huddled around flat-screen TVs in the common area to watch shows such as “Criminal Minds” and sexy Spanish telenovelas, jail sources said.
But the Department of Corrections cut a chunk of inmates’ favorite tube time because the most violent outbursts erupt between 9 and 11 p.m., jail sources said.
It’s unclear if any guards were injured in the Monday night boob-tube backlash — but violence against guards has been on the rise, a Department of Corrections source said.
In June, one inmate broke a correction officer’s pinky finger while taking a drug test, the sources said.
“The bone was pushed out of the skin,” the source said.
The early bedtime enrages inmates who have been on a set schedule for years — and don’t have much to look forward to, the corrections source added.
“Some of them have been there a long time and the new rule is confusing to them … They don’t have enough to do anyway and now brass is taking away nightly TV privileges,” the source said.
On Monday, 68 inmates were treated for exposure to pepper spray, the source said.
The prison implemented the new 9 p.m. bedtime last week in the female unit with no backlash.