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Katal New York Update — April 4, 2024

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Rikers in Crisis: Another Death and Rampant Abuse 

On Friday, March 23, another person in the custody of the NYC Department of Correction passed away. Roy Savage, a 51-year-old, was at least the 31st person known to have passed away in city jails or under DOC custody since Mayor Eric Adams took office. This is heartbreaking and truly unacceptable.

Just days after the news broke about Mr. Savage’s death, Gothamist published an investigation that highlighted a pattern of rampant sexual abuse and assault against women incarcerated at Rikers Island. They found that 60% of the 1,256 lawsuits filed in New York City’s supreme courts during the temporary filing period under the Adult Survivor Act were from Rikers. Check out our press release in response to the recent death and the widespread abuse cases. 

With new horrors and scandals coming out of Rikers every week, it is clear that Rikers must be shut down. And until that happens, we demand immediate action to save lives. We urge the City Council to swiftly pass Resolution 183, which calls for a federal receiver to improve conditions until Rikers is shut down. The council can take this concrete step to help relieve suffering at Rikers and hold Mayor Adams accountable for the disaster in city jails unfolding under his watch. Take action here to contact your City Council Member to sign on as a co-sponsor of Resolution 183!

 If you’d like to join us for a meeting with council members—and meet with your own council member—let us know. We will help! Just email Melanie at

Tonight: Shut Rikers Info Session Hosted by the Black Caucus at the Columbia School of Social Work 

Join us this Thursday, April 4, 2024, at 6pm for our Shut Rikers Info Session hosted by the Black Caucus at Columbia School of Social Work (1255 Amsterdam Ave. Room C03). This will be an opportunity to learn more about the crisis at Rikers Island and our organizing efforts to shut down the notorious and deadly jail complex! Register here for the info session!

During Thursday’s Shut Rikers Info Session, we’ll:

  • Discuss the current conditions at Rikers Island. 
  • Share our campaign demands and recent updates.
  • Provide action steps to get involved in the fight to shut Rikers.

Got questions about Rikers Island? Join us this Thursday April 4th at 6pm!

Next Wednesday, April 10th: Shut Rikers Phone Zap

Join us next Wednesday, April 10th, from 12-1 pm for our Shut Rikers Phone Zap via Zoom! Click here to RSVP. We will be calling City Council Members to demand they take immediate action to end the suffering and violence unfolding at Rikers. The City Council must swiftly pass Resolution 183, which calls on the federal courts to immediately appoint an independent receiver to take over Rikers and improve conditions until it is shut down.

 Join us on Wednesday, April 10th, from 12-1 pm for our Shut Rikers Phone Zap!

No prior experience is needed. If you know any friends, colleagues, or family members who would like to join this phone zap, please share with them this registration link: 

Got questions? Reach out to Melanie at 

Next Thursday, 4/11: April New York Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call

Our next NY Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call is next Thursday, April 11th, 2024! The state budget is four days late, and it looks like the legislature will pass another extension. On Thursday’s call, we’ll discuss the process budget, the major hold-ups, and what the rest of the session will look like. We’ll also be joined by organizers, advocates, and community members working on every aspect of criminal justice reform in the state. 

Register to join us on Thursday, April 11th, from 12 – 1 pm.

If you have any questions about the statewide call or would like to be a presenter, please contact Yonah at

Katal Quotes of the Week

These are some of the quotes we’re thinking about this week.

“When we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor’s gift.” –Maya Angelou

“Change means movement. Movement means friction.” –Saul Alinsky

For printing and distribution, download the Katal Weekly Update PDF version.

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