Rikers Island To Close In The Next 10 Years

Dimas Sanfiorenzo Dimas Sanfiorenzo is the Managing Editor for Okayplayer. He specializes…
New York City To Close Riker's Island Within The Next Decade
Photo courtesy of Twitter.
New York City To Close Riker's Island Within The Next Decade

Photo of Rikers Island courtesy of Twitter.

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.

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 violencecorruption 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 Storysent out this tweet:

John Legend, who has done a lot of important social justice work, also sent out his support of the news:

Also sending their support was Russell Simmons and Questlove.

H/T: New York Post

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