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Support for Federal Receivership at Rikers Grows

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Monday, December 4, 2023

Contact: Yonah Zeitz, • 347-201-2769

Follow on Twitter @KatalCenter • #ShutRikers

Support for Federal Receivership at Rikers Grows as Attorney General Letitia James, the New York City Bar Association, and the NYCLU File Amicus Briefs 

AG James and Others Join 50+ Community and Advocacy Groups, Former Correction Commissioners, and Dozens of City and State Legislators in the Call for Federal Courts to Take Action at Rikers 

Statement by Katal Center 

New York, NY: On Friday, New York Attorney General Letitia James, the New York City Bar Association, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Vera Institute for Justice, and Former Public Safety and Correctional Officials all submitted amicus briefs in support of federal receivership. They join a long list of elected officials, correctional experts, community groups, advocates, and service providers who are all calling for the federal courts to appoint an independent receiver at Rikers. See a full list of supporters here. 

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

“As the crisis at Rikers intensifies and a federal takeover looms over the mayor, we’re seeing a growing alignment among state and federal prosecutors, public defenders, former city and correctional executives, and state-wide civil rights groups who agree Mayor Adams has failed to effectively and safely manage the city’s jail system. This type of across-the-board consensus does not happen very often in the criminal legal system, and it is indicative of the severity of Rikers and the remarkable ineptitude displayed by Mayor Adams over the last two years. All the various actors tasked with ensuring the well-being of incarcerated people have lost faith in this mayor. 

When you look at the current state of affairs at Rikers – at least 28 people have died in the city jails since Adams took office – you quickly understand why the New York Attorney General, the New York City Bar Association, and more joined a large number of elected officials and community groups calling for a federal receiver to improve conditions at Rikers.  It’s clear that DOC dysfunction and mismanagement are worsening the conditions at Rikers and exacerbating harm to incarcerated people. In the midst of all this, we’re not even sure who is in charge of the DOC since current Commissioner Louis Molina announced his departure over a month ago. Until Rikers is shut down, there must be immediate action to improve conditions and save lives, and the DOC is both unwilling and incapable of achieving that task. A federal receivership could improve conditions until Rikers is shut down once and for all.”

The next federal court date is Thursday, December 14, 2023, when Judge Swain will make a determination on the Legal Aid Society’s receivership motion. Ahead of the court hearing, we will hold a rally and press conference at 1 pm at Foley Square to demand the federal courts appoint an independent receiver at Rikers to improve conditions and save lives. See details here


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