City Hall rally calls for immediate shutdown of Rikers Island
Close to a hundred advocates from around the city converged outside City Hall Tuesday to demand action to the crisis at Rikers Island.
The group called on the next mayor to have a plan in place to immediately close the troubled jail facility, which is now scheduled to be shuttered in 2027.
Advocates say one way to speed up the jail's shutdown is by reducing the facility's bed capacity.
They also want Rikers out of the hands of the Department of Correction.
Activists also demanded the removal of cash bail and expansions in early release programs.
The group called on Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams and other city leaders who will hold offices to take action in closing Rikers.
A spokeperson representing Adams responded in a statement that reads, "Eric believes the situation at Rikers is now a full-blown crisis that must be addressed with immediate investments in personnel and resources, as well as new policies that protect inmates and officers alike."
A representative for Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa says instead of closing Rikers, Sliwa is calling for the hiring of 2,000 more correctional officers, upgrade Rikers and keep it open, and transfer emotionally disturbed inmates to mental health care prisons.
The ongoing crisis at Rikers reached the state level. Just recently, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed the state parole board to release 191 prisoners at Rikers Island immediately and transfer more than 200 others to state prisons.
Legislation was also signed to eliminate the practice of jailing people for technical parole violations.
So far to date, there have been 12 deaths at Rikers. Advocates say the number will continue to increase if Rikers remains opens.