“Directly impacted people and communities know that the problem with Rikers is Rikers, and that the only meaningful solution is to #CLOSErikers now. But as Judge Jonathan Lippman and others have pointed out, treating the people who are trapped there with dignity and respect, and working to preserve their humanity, have to be our primary responsibilities for as long as Torture Island remains open.
“That is why the #CLOSErikers campaign applauds and thanks New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray for her continuing and renewed commitment to addressing the myriad needs of the women – the daughters, sisters, and mothers – who are caged on Rikers Island. With the announcement today that the city would invest $6 million on a proposal meant to support women on Rikers, and that Ms. McCray would oversee this proposal, we look forward to finding ways to engage with Ms. McCray in this important work and welcome an opportunity to further amplify the voices of the people who will stand to benefit from this initiative.
“We appreciate that this proposal is intended to end the cycle of victimization, trauma, and violence that traps people in our criminal justice system, and that it is being built in a way that would allow it to be replicated in new, modern, smaller, and safer borough-based facilities located throughout the city. Most importantly, we know that women are confronted with unique challenges while they are incarcerated, and that efforts to work with this particularly vulnerable population are a vital piece of holistic criminal justice reform.
“We will continue to demand real solutions to all of the problems in our criminal justice system, and will not stop agitating and advocating until every single facility on Rikers Island is closed for good. But until and even after that happens, we will stand alongside our partners who work to support the families and communities that have been impacted and devastated by Rikers. The humanity of our fellow New Yorkers can never be forgotten.”