Mayor de Blasio announces Rikers relief plan addressing 'emergency situation'

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced steps to address what is being called an "emergency situation" at Rikers Island.

News 12 Staff

Sep 14, 2021, 5:03 PM

Updated 983 days ago

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Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced steps to address what is being called an "emergency situation" at Rikers Island. This comes after an inmate apparently tried to commit suicide during a tour that included several elected officials Monday.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams says he was shaken during that tour, and that the health and humanity of everyone inside is being disregarded. Officials are now calling on the mayor and the governor to make immediate changes.
The mayor is using emergency orders to make what he calls "very intense changes" at Rikers Island. This includes bringing in additional help from the NYPD to take pressure off correction officers.
The mayor's Emergency Rikers Relief Plan consists of emergency contracting to clean and fix things faster and shifting court staffing, as well as accountability for AWOL Department of Correction staff. Anyone out for more than one day will need to provide documentation or be suspended without pay for 30 days.
The plan also expands medical evaluation capacity and speeds up intake to reduce crowding.
The original plan was to close Rikers, but that is still some years away. The mayor says right now more and more people go into Rikers with nowhere else to go, which is why he's calling on the state for help.
The state passed the Less is More Act in June, but it still needs to be signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul. That bill was sponsored by now-Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin and Brooklyn Assembly Member Phara Soufrant Forrest and is designed to speed up state transfers and court cases.


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