May 27, 2023

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"Following the federal monitor’s latest damning, alarming report, and all the failures that have preceded it across years, it is time for Rikers to be placed under federal receivership. 

"I don’t celebrate this step, which I know would bring its own challenges, but it is clear that when it comes to protecting people on both sides of the bars and correcting the crisis conditions on Rikers, after over a year of purported reforms, this administration has earned neither the trust nor the confidence it shows in this area. They did not create the longstanding issues on Rikers, but despite any efforts they have undertaken, patterns of abuse, neglect, secrecy and misinformation have continued. They repeatedly demonstrate an inability to prevent harm and an unwillingness to support measures that would mitigate it, such as banning solitary confinement, fully funding restorative programming, or holding bad actors accountable. The roadblocks to real transparency, a pattern long highlighted and made even more stark in this report by a statedly objective third party, informs my decision that unfortunately, receivership has become the only option. 

"It is critical, if federal receivership moves forward, that the oversight of the city’s jail systems is guided by a transition task force of experts who have long been involved in that oversight work and people with lived experience, and in developing solutions to failing systems, rather than trying to maintain them. It is just as critical that receivership helps accelerate, rather than impede, the moral and legal obligation to finally close Rikers, and ensure its failures do not spread into the new borough-based system. Ultimately, the most lasting way to prevent the harm on Rikers will be to close it down."