Women and Trans Prisoners Removed From Grave Situation at Rikers Island
New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that most of the women and trans prisoners currently held at Rikers Island Prison will be removed. The prisoners will be transferred to two State-run facilities - the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills and the Taconic Correctional Facility in Westchester County. Both prisons are operated by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which will now oversee the 230 prisoners.
Governor Hochul recently signed the Less is More Act on September 17, 2021,
This transformative parole reform will restrict the use of incarceration for non-criminal technical parole violations, bolster due process in parole hearings, require parole hearings to take place within a specified time, and provide earned time credit for parole. Less Is More is perhaps the most significant parole reform in the country to date - its impact will be enormous.
The women and trans people will be transferred beginning the week of October 18. Ten to 20 prisoners will be transferred twice per week. The NY Department of Corrections will ensure that the individuals' family members are able to visit them at the new facilities. Daily transportation will be provided from NYC to each of the facilities starting on Friday, October 22.
Gov. Hochul spoke about the dire situation at Rikers Island Prison and the need to move the prisoners,
"The situation on Rikers Island is grave and complex, and thus requires bold action from all levels of government to deliver change. I am especially heartened that the State is able to assist some of the most vulnerable populations on Rikers, and today, I am proud to announce the State's agreement with the City to temporarily move the majority of these populations off Rikers and into safer State facilities, and I thank the City for its partnership on this important step. These actions will further help ease staffing concerns, capacity constraints, and improve safety for several hundred detainees until such time that the City can identify and implement a permanent solution that will bring justice to the situation at Rikers."
While the move to the state-run prisons is temporary, Gov. Hochul has charged DOCCS Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci with producing longer-term solutions.
In recent months, Rikers has been plagued by staff shortages linked to absenteeism. The 413-acre jail compound in the East River has been plagued by gangs, drugs and violence for decades and has suffered from mismanagement and neglect worsened by the pandemic and the severe staffing crisis. ~ New York Times
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