Too many people are incarcerated in NYC. In order to #CLOSErikers, we must significantly reduce the number of people being detained there in the first place. Significant efforts to achieve this are already underway. Under pressure from many of the same groups that lead the #CLOSErikers campaign, the de Blasio administration has already committed to moving adolescents off of the Island. Advocates have pushed the City to explore new and expanded diversion systems, including connecting individuals with mental health and substance use issues to appropriate services, rather than incarceration.
In order to further reduce the Rikers Island population, we must fix court processing times to ensure speedy trials, make our bail system more fair and equitable, and decrease the overall number of unnecessary arrests in NYC. Each of these goals is well within reach. For example, the New York Speedy Trial bill S05988-A (Squadron) /A08296-A (Aubry) would make critical improvements to our broken process, and have a long-term impact on ensuring an individual’s right to a speedy trial.
By closing Rikers Island, New York City can achieve justice for thousands and focus on the important work of healing and rebuilding the communities where Rikers has brought suffering. Join the #CLOSErikers campaign in calling for New Yorkers to boldly reimagine our city’s failed criminal justice system and become a national leader in ending mass incarceration.