“We are encouraged by the U.S. Attorney’s recognition that the City has failed to keep New Yorkers at Rikers safe, and want to be clear that this development is the latest confirmation that the jail complex should have closed long ago.
“Moving forward, federal, state, and city authorities must see takeover not as a solution, but as a wakeup call to invest in data-driven solutions that reduce pretrial jailing and create long-term public safety for all New Yorkers.
“Black, Brown, and poor New Yorkers deserve so much better than the deep-seated culture of abuse and the abhorrent cycle of violence and death that exists in a system designed to senselessly jail our communities before trial. The Department of Justice’s welcome sense of urgency underscores what we have known for years: Rikers Island can’t be fixed; it must be closed.”
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams’ call to place the Rikers Island jail complex under federal receivership comes on the heels of the tragic death of William Johnstone on Saturday, July 15, the 25th death at Rikers Island since the beginning of 2022. Johnstone was incarcerated because he could not pay bail to secure his release.