Statement from Legal Aid’s Attorney-in-Chief on City’s Announcement to Close Rikers Island
FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2017

The Legal Aid Society’s Attorney-in-Chief, Seymour W. James Jr., released the following statement today responding to Mayor de Blasio’s and City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito’s announcement to close Rikers Island.

“Rikers Island has been a long scourge to this city besetting justice, perpetuating recidivism and destroying black and brown communities. From our daily interactions with clients at Rikers and their stories about rampant violence and abuse, we know first-hand the destructive consequences this facility has for the families its touched.

Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito have prioritized criminal justice reform since entering office, and their shared decision to finally close Rikers Island is a testament to those priorities and concerns.

We join New Yorkers from every borough today flushed with many emotions that the dream of closing Rikers Island will finally become reality.”