The city’s plan to close Rikers by 2027 is “not a perfect plan, but it’s the best plan thus far. And to do the bold and necessary thing—to see this plan through to completion—will take moral courage and political leadership.”
‘Jail separates people from work and family, jeopardizes stable housing, and subjects them to violence, especially in inhumane environments like Rikers. Incarceration must be the option of last resort, used only when it is essential for public safety.’
A look at City Limits’ coverage is far from a comprehensive rendering of the Rikers saga. But it does provide a sense of how long this argument has been going on, of the twists and turns it has taken, and of the many passionate viewpoints New Yorkers have about it.
‘This is the right time for the city to also make a bold commitment to support people with serious and persistent mental and behavioral health needs, in ways that will prevent contact (or further contact) with law enforcement at every possible juncture.’
Ayana Smith and Mariela Mariano |
The division between people who support the de Blasio administration plan to site a new jail in the Bronx to facilitate the closing of Rikers and those who don’t is about a lot more than the location.
‘An impartial and fair assessment of this process can lead to only one conclusion: Closing Rikers will lead to a more just New York.’
While many Bronx politicians oppose the specific site the mayor has targeted for a new facility to partly replace Rikers Island, a vocal coalition of protesters is calling for an end to jails and policing as we know it.
Not so fast. With Raise the Age going into effect this week, the city’s 16- and 17-year-olds in custody are just moving from one jail to another.
CityViews: Addressing Trauma is Key to Stopping Violence on Rikers and in the Jails That Will Replace It
‘We must recognize that the culture of violence exists on Rikers Island – and will continue to exist in the new borough facilities that will be built – if concrete measures aren’t taken to directly address and effectively reduce the violence that exists currently.’
In the wake of a state budget that whiffed on criminal justice reform, Gov. Cuomo has continued to chide Mayor de Blasio for sticking to a 10-year timeline for closing Rikers Island that the governor believes is too slow.
Also: Marking the anniversary of Malcolm X’s death.
While there’s a lot of discussion about where new jails might go, the heavier lift might be figuring out how to release enough violent-felony defendants to allow the city to move detainees off the island.
A writer currently incarcerated on the island writes that re-establishing similarly flawed facilities elsewhere will displace the problems on Rikers, but won’t dispense with them.
Whether the timeline is three years or 10, a former Correction captain lays out the issues facing policymakers, officers and inmates.
Albanese described a plan that revolved around thinning out the population on the island and then closing the facilities there that displayed the worst conditions.
The biggest reason for the doubts about de Blasio’s devotion to closing Rikers is that doing so will require tough decisions in a policy area where this mayor faces unusually high expectations and especially acute risks.