For decades, Rikers Island has been marked by violence and corruption. Stories regularly emerge documenting the abuse, brutality, and death in the institution. The #CLOSErikers campaign was formed in 2016 to break political gridlock and achieve solutions guided by directly impacted communities.

In April 2016, JustLeadershipUSA launched the #CLOSErikers campaign, centering the leadership of people harmed by Rikers to demand the closure of the notorious jail complex. In the span of a year, organizers took the demand to close Rikers from a lofty ideal to the stated policy of New York City. Today, this movement continues to gain strength and momentum for our demand that Rikers is closed forever. We have a real opportunity to make this happen. We cannot allow more lives to be harmed by Rikers. We will not allow money to be wasted on Rikers instead of used to repair the harm that the justice system has done in our communities. We cannot allow New York City to keep caging people in barbaric facilities that are steeped in a culture of violence. Rikers cannot be reformed. It is truly irredeemable. The problem with Rikers is Rikers and there is only one solution.

We can redefine justice in New York City. Together we can #CLOSErikers and #buildCOMMUNITIES.

Read more about our Key Demands and How We Will #CLOSErikers with our plan to:

  1. SHRINK the jails system and improve conditions;
  2. DECARCERATE New Yorkers;
  3. and #buildCOMMUNITIES through justice reinvestment that moves money from the criminal legal system to programs that support people and communities.


The #CLOSErikers campaign fights to SHRINK the NYC jails system and improve conditions; decarcerate New Yorkers; and #buildCOMMUNITIES through justice reinvestment.

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For the members of JustLeadershipUSA and our partners, our demand to #CLOSErikers has always been tied to a vision for shifting funds to investments that will build communities.


We are proud and excited to present this #buildCOMMUNITIES platform as a roadmap for New York City to make a bold shift from the status quo to a city that lives our values of equity and justice.

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