NEW YORK — #CLOSErikers leaders testified today at a day-long hearing, urging the City Council land use subcommittee to vote in October to move forward with the historic ULURP to shrink the NYC jail system from 12 jails to 4, and build four borough-based facilities with improved conditions and drastically reduced capacity in order to facilitate the closure of the isolated Rikers Island jail complex and the Boat (Vernon C Bain Correctional Center). To mark the historic hearing and their effort in creating the boldest, viable plan for closure, which has brought the process further than any other closure effort in history, directly impacted campaign leaders shared public art and their stories outside of City Hall.
Leader testimonies addressed the human rights crisis on Rikers and why the City must meet these demands: continue to advance decarceration by reducing bed capacity below 3,000; make immediate investments in mental health resources and alternatives to incarceration; improve conditions for anyone still incarcerated in New York City; advance plans for the re-purposing of Rikers to benefit communities; ensure that every last individual is free from Rikers Island and the Boat as fast as possible; and reinvest the cost-savings from shrinking the jail system into communities.
Rikers must close due to human rights violations and torturous conditions that include environmental hazards— such as the Island being built on toxic landfill. Directly impacted leaders demand that the City Council make amendments to the ULURP application to reflect our plan: further decarceration, a faster route to decarceration and facilities that are not managed by the Department of Correction. The opportunity to close Rikers is now — and the land use process is a critical step toward closure.
FB livestream of speakout: facebook.com/CLOSErikers/
Link to testimonies: bit.ly/CRtestimony0905
Link to Our Plan: bit.ly/CR-ourplan
#buildCOMMUNITIES platform: jlusa.org/buildCOMMUNITIES
Photos from the day can be found on @CLOSErikers twitter.
Led by directly impacted communities and in partnership with more than 150 organizations, the #CLOSErikers campaign fights to close the Rikers jail complex and #buildCOMMUNITIES.
Contact: Loretta Kane