Advocates call on Mayor Adams for Rikers Island shutdown
Several groups gathered today to hold a rally for the closure of Rikers Island.
In 2022, a record number of 19 people died in city jails or shortly after being released. Despite the Department of Corrections citing progress on some safety concerns, several groups came together today to rally once again for the closure of one of the city’s most controversial jails: Rikers Island.
In a recently released report, the city’s comptroller described the situation at Rikers as an "ever-growing humanitarian crisis."
The rally came ahead of Mayor Eric Adams' State of the City address. Advocates as well as formerly incarcerated individuals and their families are calling on him for change.
During his campaign, the mayor said he supported shutting down Rikers, a plan put in place under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, passed by the city council and written into law.
Since then, Adams has expressed doubt about the plan to close the jail by 2027, and advocates planning to rally today ahead of his speech say he has a moral and legal responsibility to follow through.
Data shows that the jail’s population has been decreasing. The Department of Corrections has said that incidents where officers used force and assaults on staff were both down in 2022.
However, a record high of 19 people died while in custody or shortly after being released last year, which the most since 2013.