Across The Bridge is a novel that takes place in one of the most notorious prisons, Rikers Island. The novel details power, corruption, control, drugs, sex and violence through multiple vantage points–visitors, civilians, inmates, correction officers. These stories intertwine, showcasing just how much goes on within the prison system and how it has a ripple effect. But this is far from just another prison story.
Although this novel is fiction, it was inspired by actual events. Across The Bridge was written by Steven Dominguez, a former Correction Officer who ended up switching roles and becoming imprisoned himself.
Dominguez’s story isn’t what you’d quite expect. At a young age, he was a hustler—selling sneakers and hats, and shoveling snow. The son of a teacher, Dominquez decided to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Psychology. While in college he was hired by The Department of Homeland Security and became a TSA agent. Shortly after he took the Correction Officer exam. After passing the exam he became a C.O. at the young age of 21.
By all accounts, Dominguez was on the right side of the law. But Dominguez says Riker’s Island was a culture shock. Although he grew up in New York and experienced the gritty sides the city has to offer, Riker’s Island was a whole other beast. He eventually became desensitized to the extreme violence and corruption that occurred while on the job. And that’s where his story takes a turn.
For 3 years, he battled his conscience and tried to stay on the straight arrow. But the temptation proved to be too much and he accepted an offer from an inmate. Dominguez eventually caved to the pressure and began transporting kilos of cocaine, marijuana, and OxyContin pills making up to $12,000 extra for each job he completed. Ironically, the same inmate who offered him this opportunity would eventually be the one who turned him in. Dominguez was indicted on criminal possession and conspiracy charges by the Federal Government. After accepting a plea deal, Dominguez was sentenced to 8 years.
Dominguez was inspired to write about his experience, he stated, “After facing criminal charges and being sentenced to 8 years in state prison, many people approached me wanting to hear about my story. So, I figured I’d create a figment of my imagination semi-based on true events and publish it for entertainment and educational purposes.”
Although Dominguez’s life story sounds like a movie, he warns, “Anyone who’s had to battle with integrity, don’t be me. It’s not really worth it.”
Riker’s Island is surrounded by a striking skyline but don’t be fooled. Diving into Across The Bridge is a shocking look into one of the most secluded prisons. Told from all angles, this novel holds nothing back.
Currently, Dominguez is an author and producer. When I asked what was next, Dominquez stated, “I’m currently in the works of co-authoring a book titled ‘ Vice Was Nice‘ based on the biography of a NYPD Vice detective who shortly after retiring dove right into running a criminal enterprise consisting of prostitution and brothels and gambling rings–the same crimes he sought to shut down. Crazy story and I’m excited.”
You can purchase Across The Bridge HERE.