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Katal Responds to Mayor Adams Removing Protections and Skirting Transparency on Rikers

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Contact:  Yonah Zeitz, yonah@katalcenter.org | (347) 201-2769

Follow on Twitter @KatalCenter | #CutShutInvestNY | #CloseRikers

Katal Responds to Mayor Adams Removing Safeguards to Protect Trans Women and Skirting Efforts for Transparency and Oversight at Rikers

New York, NY: Yesterday, The CITY reported that under Mayor Adams the DOC has completely gutted the LGBTQ+ Affairs Unit at Rikers, putting trans women in dangerous and life-threatening situations as they are consistently being placed in male housing units. Instead of working to address the crisis at Rikers, the Mayor continues to throw gasoline on the fire. Today, news broke that the Adams administration has rejected requests from the congressional representatives from the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, which includes Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for data on the crisis at Rikers. This comes a week after the DOC blocked the Board of Corrections from accessing video footage from Rikers. As the crisis at Rikers continues, the Adams administration continues to remove protection for marginalized incarcerated people, meddle with external oversight, and reduce transparency. 

Statement from Yonah Zeitz, Director of Advocacy, Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice. 

“All the news coming out over Rikers this past week is incredibly alarming and unfortunately consistent with Mayor Adam’s response to the crisis on Rikers – he doesn’t want to close Rikers, he wants to fill it. In the Mayors first year in office, 19 people have died on Rikers – surpassing 2021’s record number and the most since 2013 when the jail population was twice as large. The violence on Rikers has also escalated to record levels under this administration. The Mayor’s current approach to the crisis on Rikers is centered on sending more low-income, Black, and brown New Yorkers to Rikers, subjecting them to dangerous and life-threatening conditions. It’s despicable and will lead to more preventable deaths. While the crisis at the island would benefit from sunlight, Adams is focused on reducing transparency, fighting any external oversight, preferring instead to operate in the shadows where problems multiply. Under his leadership, the DOC is working overtime to remove the crisis from the public eye and absolve themselves of any responsibility or accountability.

Rikers is a scandal. Period. Adams should be working overtime to shut this jail down. Instead, he wants more people jailed there and has proposed a disastrous budget that prioritizes criminalization and incarceration, while cutting funding for nearly everything else, including the things that form the basis of real safety, including libraries. We reject the mayor’s budget proposal, we reject the mayor’s tired Guiliani-style approach to governance, and tomorrow Katal and other community groups from across the City will attend the Mayor’s speech to demand a just and equitable City and that Rikers be closed down once and for all.”

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