Plan To Close Riker’s Island Backed By NYC Mayor
“New York City will close the Rikers Island jail facility. It will happen.” – Mayor de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing a plan that will close the doors of the infamous Riker’s Island penitentiary forever.
He says the move, which may take up to 10 years to implement, is intended to end an era of mass incarceration in New York City.
Smaller jails will be built in place of Riker’s, possibly in all five boroughs.
Via CBS New York:
“This is a day New Yorkers have been waiting for,” the mayor said. “This will not be easy, we’re talking about a decade — a decade is a long time. There will be a lot of tough choices, there will be a lot of challenges.”
“For too long Rikers Island has stood as a symbol of injustice in our city and as a stain on our criminal justice system. It’s legacy of systemic violence and abuse has been a blemish on New York City for decades,” Mark-Viverito said.
“This is going to take a lot of work, there’s no quick fix here,” de Blasio added.
To make it work, the mayor said the jail population would have to be cut roughly in half.
“We’ve got about 9,500 people in custody in our entire jail system, that number must get down to 5,000 people to allow us to get off of Rikers Island,” de Blasio said.
The city will also have to reduce crime, the mayor added.
“Reducing crime means reducing jail population. Any talk of getting off Rikers is meaningless if we don’t keep reducing crime,” de Blasio said. “Overall crime is down nine percent if we can continue on that trajectory it will allow us to get off of Rikers Island.”
Below is the official statement:
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) March 31, 2017
The news comes on the heels of JAY Z and the Weinstein Company’s six-part docuseries, “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story,” about a young student who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime.
Shortly after his release, Kalief took his own life.
JAY Z took to social media to hail Kalief as a “prophet” whose story will “save lives.”
Kalief is a prophet. His story will save lives . You guys watching and your compassion made this happen. Thank you . pic.twitter.com/Vvnt9tDBeR
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) March 31, 2017
I couldn’t agree more.