Saturday, April 1, 2017
Bill's closing Rikers
Just days before a special commission was set to release a report calling for the closure of Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday he supports a ten-year timeline to shutter the troubled jail.
“This is the first time in 85 years, since Rikers Island opened in 1932, that the official policy of the city of New York will be to end our efforts on Rikers Island and close the jails there,” de Blasio said flanked by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte and director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, Elizabeth Glazer.
The press conference, which was not initially listed on the mayor's public schedule, came nearly a year after City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called for the complete closure of the facility.
De Blasio said his own evolution on the idea — which he had previously dismissed as a "noble" but impractical undertaking — came after weeks of conversations between he and Mark-Viverito, describing a consensus that formed around the general idea that the facility could be closed after it reaches 5,000 inmates. The first step would be reducing the inmate population to 7,000 as the city figures out where to house the inmate population would be displaced.