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Elected officials say conditions on Rikers Island are a humanitarian crisis

Some of their concerns include what they say is the inmates’ lack of access to medical care, overcrowded intake areas and unsafe working environments for uniformed staff.

News 12 Staff

Sep 15, 2021, 9:42 PM

Updated 1,036 days ago

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City Council members and other elected officials are calling for action on Rikers Island, describing the current conditions on Rikers Island as a humanitarian crisis.
In a meeting on Wednesday, elected officials along with correctional professionals voiced their concerns on what they are calling “deplorable conditions” in the city’s jails. 
Some of their concerns include what they say is the inmates’ lack of access to medical care, overcrowded intake areas and unsafe working environments for uniformed staff. 
This comes just a week after a 10th inmate has died in custody on Rikers Island this year. Out of those 10 deaths, officials say at least five were caused by suicide. 
The Board of Corrections has indicated that in the years 2018, 2019 and 2020 there were no reported suicide deaths. 
The City Council is calling on city and state leaders to immediately reduce the population at Rikers Island by releasing people held for low-level crimes and those who are at high risk for COVID-19. 
They are also calling on the Department of Corrections to provide necessary services for inmates and for uniformed officers to show up to work so that others aren’t forced to work double or triple shifts. 
Additionally, they want the governor to sign the Less is More Act, which aims to reform parole by restricting the incarceration of non-criminal technical parole violations.


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