“For decades, Rikers Island has cultivated a culture of brutal violence and dysfunction, compelling the City Council to pass legislation to end the humanitarian crisis in our city’s jails and transition to a more effective and safer borough-based system. Today marks four years to the day that New York City must close Rikers to comply with the law. Public safety demands that we remain on-track to closing Rikers without delay. To achieve this goal, it is imperative that Mayor Adams’ administration take responsibility for implementing the law, including working collaboratively with stakeholders involved in the criminal legal system to advance necessary progress. The City must make consistent investments in pretrial services, alternatives to incarceration, and re-entry services, while addressing unacceptable lengths of stay with the courts, district attorneys, and public defenders. The Council has taken recent actions as a contributing partner in these efforts by advancing increased mental health interventions and greater resources for supervised release programs, among others, but far more is needed.

“We cannot allow Rikers to continue undermining public safety and must continue the necessary work of implementing a more effective approach to public safety. The record deaths and continued violence, which endangers both staff and detained individuals, reaffirms the Council’s 2019 decision to bring this shameful chapter in the city’s history to an end and only emphasizes the urgency we must act with moving forward.”