City makes moves toward shifting away from jails on Rikers with bill signing


Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law a bill that will create an advisory committee to weigh the options of a future without a jail system on Rikers Island in the years ahead.

As part of the process started under the speakership of former Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito to dismantle what many perceive as an antiquated symbol of injustice rather than justice, the bill begins the process of transferring parts of Rikers Island from the Department of Corrections to the Citywide Administrative Services Department.

More than likely, the space will be used for renewable initiatives and smaller detention facilities will be built in each borough –except Staten Island – closer to courts and less isolated.

“More will come over the years ahead on the way to fully leaving Rikers Island as a place for incarceration and creating it as a place that will play an important role in a positive future for this city,” de Blasio said. “So, we’re going to write the wrongs of the past as we leave Rikers Island behind and legislation today is going to help us do it. It’s going to help us re-imagine the spaces on Rikers Island and how they’ll contribute to the future of this city, and we’ll do so because of this legislation in a way that focuses on environmental justice, that focuses on social justice, that focuses on sustainability.”

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