FEB. 14, 2018 STATEMENT FROM BRANDON J. HOLMES, #CLOSERIKERS CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR, AND ERIN L. GEORGE, #FREENEWYORK CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR, ON MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING BOROUGH FACILITIES AND NEW YORK STATE COMMISSION ON CORRECTION REPORT

“Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio identified four proposed locations for borough-based facilities with the goal of advancing closure of the Rikers Island Jail Complex. This is the result of pressure from directly impacted communities, advocates, and the #CLOSErikers campaign who have continued to demand an end to the devastation caused by our criminal justice system. Even as we have forced the Mayor to take concrete steps towards closure of Torture Island, we are still deeply disappointed that he remains committed to an inexcusably long timeline and has chosen sites without actually engaging and elevating the voices of directly impacted leaders.

“The Mayor’s plan also contains a glaring omission: any mention at all of Staten Island. The people who’ve been trapped at Rikers and their families know that solutions must include all neighborhoods in the city. But this Mayor continues to send a message to Staten Island families that their incarcerated loved ones don’t matter.

“Also, last night, the Mayor said that the advocates who want to #CLOSErikers should join him in Albany to fight for bail and speedy trial reform. We invite the Mayor to join the hundreds of directly impacted leaders in our #FREEnewyork campaign who’ve been in Albany for months, demanding groundbreaking overhaul of our bail, speedy trial, and discovery laws. Unlike the Mayor, who sides with the District Attorneys Association by wholly disregarding the need for discovery reform in his State of the City address, we understand the central role and undeniable necessity of discovery reform. People must have the right to see the evidence that’s being used against them.

“We have also learned that the New York State Commission on Correction will be delivering a report to Governor Andrew Cuomo that details the ongoing and relentless brutality of Rikers. Given the urgency of the crisis on Rikers Island, we remind the Governor: if you truly care about ending the problems at Rikers, you have the authority under Section 45 of New York’s Correction Law to order the immediate closure of every single facility there. We thank Senator Brian Benjamin for his continued leadership on these issues, and also for working with his colleagues in Albany by helping to advance the unapologetically bold legislation that the #FREEnewyork campaign and our hundreds of allies demand and that will help decarcerate New York and #CLOSErikers.

“Going forward, we hope – and impacted communities deserve to see – Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo actually work together to achieve real criminal justice reform. They are both responsible for the safety, health, and well being of New Yorkers, and must address the demands of low-income communities and communities of color who are incessantly targeted and trapped by our broken criminal justice system.”

 

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