March led by interfaith leaders urge Mayor Adams to close Rikers Island

Josh Einiger Image
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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A march led by interfaith leaders on Monday urged Mayor Adams to close Rikers Island. Josh Einiger has more.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A march led by interfaith leaders on Monday urged Mayor Adams to close Rikers Island.

It has been three years to the day since city council voted to close the chronically dangerous Rikers and replace it with a system of borough-based jails which would offer more restorative services to inmates as they await trial.

The Adams administration has doubled down on the plan, publishing a detailed website on the city's plans to complete the transformation by April 2027, a year late because of COVID, but City Hall reports the number of inmates is actually down 51 percent at Rikers since 2013.

Dealing with the current situation between now and 2027 is among the biggest concerns, with 16 inmates having died on the island this year alone. A judge will determine next month whether to hand control of Rikers to the Federal government.

"I don't know why people think the response to a problem is allowing someone else to handle the problem," said Mayor Adams.

For months, Mayor Adams has pointed to statistics like the number of inmate slashings and correction officer absenteeism as improving under his watch.

"I want the problem of the generational dysfunction of Rikers. I want it. I don't want someone else to handle a problem of New York City. The problems that we have, I was elected to resolve them," Adams said.

However, in the rain outside Gracie Mansion on Monday night, the activists insisted he must move faster.

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