City Council members rally to demand closure of Rikers Island

The City Council worked with advocates to create a solution that would put an end to what they refer to as a humanitarian crisis at the city jail.

News 12 Staff

Apr 11, 2023, 11:58 PM

Updated 407 days ago

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Members of the City Council came together outside of City Hall on Tuesday to call on Mayor Eric Adams to close Rikers Island.  
Councilmembers Lincoln Restler and Kevin Riley are spearheading a plan to safely close Rikers Island, and hope that the process can begin with the upcoming city budget. They’re calling for investments to safely cut the jail population while expanding housing access and speedy trials.  
"Look at what's actually happening in Rikers which is that most people need mental health support, most people need a lot of specialized support, that is not a psychiatric facility and it should not be,” said Councilmember Sandy Nurse.  
The City Council worked with advocates to create a solution that would put an end to what they refer to as a humanitarian crisis at the city jail. Their goal is for various legislation to be passed immediately and for investments to be made so that the structure is in place to close Rikers Island by August 2027.  
"It can save lives, it can create a more humane, safe community and city where people don't end up in jail at all,” said Jullian Harris-Calvin, program director for the Vera Institute of Justice.  
The council members outside of City Hall said they are committed to meeting that 2027 deadline.  
News 12 has reached out to the Department of Correction for a statement and is awaiting a response.


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