July 10, 2019
Contact: Loretta Kane (917-410-7242 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Directly impacted communities speak out at City Planning Commission’s ULURP hearing
Statement from #CLOSErikers Campaign Coordinator Brandon Holmes
NEW YORK — Today, the City Planning Commission will hold hearings to review the next steps in the process to close the complex of jails on Rikers Island. Directly impacted communities and formerly incarcerated people leading the #CLOSErikers campaign are calling on the commission to move forward with Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). #CLOSErikers Campaign Coordinator Brandon Holmes issued the following statement:
“The #CLOSErikers campaign, led by survivors of Rikers, calls on the City Planning Commission to proceed with ULURP review so we can proceed with our plan, providing a clear path for the city to reduce the capacity of incarcerated people by over 75 percent, moving human beings out of torturous conditions on Rikers, the Boat and other jails.
“The #CLOSErikers campaign is proud that people directly impacted by the horror of Rikers Island have made closing Rikers an attainable reality after decades of work. #CLOSErikers leaders changed the idea of what was possible by presenting a vision that centered lived experiences, inspiring a movement and leaders across the country to act boldly and lead with conviction.
“Throughout this campaign, people privileged enough to have never experienced the horror and oppression of Rikers have suggested and demanded that we should scrap the plan to close Rikers and start over but these people have yet to provide an answer for what will happen to our neighbors and loved ones that remain trapped on Rikers if we don’t move forward with our plan.
“In the past three decades, there have been three attempts and three separate plans to close Rikers Island. The formerly incarcerated leaders and families that steer our movement have learned from these efforts and will not delay closure and justice reinvestment that supports directly impacted people and our communities. We are ensuring New York City commits to rapid and long term decarceration and it starts with closing Rikers Island and the Boat.
“Campaign leaders have shown courage at every step of this campaign. Leaders once incarcerated on Rikers have testified on countless occasions about the disproportionate harm that they and their family members have suffered — and they have resolved not to leave anyone behind on Rikers. These leaders shoulder the hard work of analyzing and fighting for all of the ways we are able to free thousands of people in the next five years AND close all 10 Rikers Island jails within that time — going from 12 jails citywide to four borough-based facilities with improved conditions. Directly impacted leaders have driven the city to commit to facilities with a capacity for no more than 4,000 people ensuring we will never return to past practices; we continue our demands for reduction to less than 3,000 people.
“Our #buildCOMMUNITIES platform demands reinvestment of funds saved by jail closures and divestment from law enforcement to fund alternatives to incarceration and community needs — while ensuring humane conditions in the new facilities.
“We call on all New Yorkers to follow the leadership of people who have been incarcerated on Rikers Island and the loved ones who suffered through that torture with them. We have led the city to confront this issue and we will be here long after any administration to ensure the fastest possible closure of Rikers Island.”