Rikers Island, one of the most notorious New York City jails ever, is on its way to being obsolete. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the closing of Rikers Island on Friday, March 31 st during a press conference.
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) March 31, 2017
An independent commission has spent the last year studying Rikers Island’s many many issues. Now, according to the New York Post, the 27-person panel, lead by New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, recommended closing Riker’s Island.
The plan called for a replacement of the infamous jail with a series of jails that will be spread throughout the five boroughs. The recommendation will also come up with a plan which will allow a large portion of inmates to return to society under supervised release.
The plan was to share this conclusion with Mayor Bill De Blasio and City Hall on Sunday, but the Mayor made his announcement two days early.
Rikers Island has been known as a disaster for years, with high levels of violence, corruption and terrible conditions for its population of 10,000 prisoners. Eighty percent of prisoners on the Island are awaiting trial.
Kalief Browder was 16 when he was charged with stealing a backpack he did not in fact steal. Browder never went to trial, but he spent three years on Rikers Island, with two of those years spent in solitary confinement.
It was a traumatizing experience, which led to Browder killing himself in June 2015. After the news was announced, Jay Z, who produced a six-part documentary about Browder called Time: The Kalief Browder Story, sent out this tweet:
Kalief is a prophet. His story will save lives . You guys watching and your compassion made this happen. Thank you . pic.twitter.com/Vvnt9tDBeR
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) March 31, 2017
In closing Rikers, New York City takes a crucial step towards ending #massincarceration. Now the hard work begins.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) March 31, 2017
This is leadership! This is New York! https://t.co/zdmi87NAiD
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) March 31, 2017
There won’t be Island on Riker’s Smilin https://t.co/pixvowSlME
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) March 31, 2017
H/T: New York Post