There’s a crisis at Rikers. New York City must #CutShutInvestNY
New Yorkers are deeply concerned about the crisis on Rikers Island. The conditions at New York City’s massive jail complex are horrific and life-threatening for human beings—the people incarcerated and those who work there. Violence is rampant. Racism and other types of bias are deeply entrenched. And although Black and Latinx people constitute about 53% of the city’s population, they represent almost 90% of jail admissions.
Rikers has become the city’s largest mental health facility: More than 40% of those incarcerated there have been diagnosed with a mental health condition but have little or no access to meaningful care while they are locked up. Conditions have worsened during COVID; in December 2021, during the early phase of the Omicron surge, more than 21% of the people detained at Rikers had tested positive for COVID.
Most people on Rikers Island haven’t been convicted: they’re being held in jail pretrial while considered legally innocent because, unlike those who have money, they can’t afford bail. The situation at Rikers has been deteriorating for many, many years. A 2021 report by a federally appointed monitor found that conditions at Rikers have “progressively and substantially worsened.” Tragically, 2021 was one of the deadliest years on record for the city’s jails: 16 men died in custody. In March 2022, the federal monitor issued a new report, finding that “the first few months of 2022 have revealed the jails remain unstable and unsafe” for people detained at Rikers and for staff.
Rikers is a catastrophe. Rikers must be shut down.
We can fix this. New Yorkers are calling on the mayor, other city officials, judges, and district attorneys to #CutShutInvestNY:
January 05, 2018
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