Rikers Island Possibly Closing
With the news that one of the 10 lockup facilities on Rikers Island is closing in summer 2018, there has been renewed talk about the closing of the entire facility sometime in the near future. The inmate population on the island peaked in the early 1990s, and is now less than half that amount. The New York City mayor has said several times that if crime rates in New York continue to stay low and the population of the Island is cut in about half again, the city will be able to take steps to close the facility for good.
Rikers Island is notorious and has consistently been named one of the worst and most dangerous correctional facilities in the United States. It’s known as being a dangerous place for inmates and staff alike. Correctional officers and medical personnel face difficult working conditions in the often dated facilities. The trend among the largest American cities has been a steady decline in incarceration rates, with the exception of Philadelphia. But New York has gone past a steady decline to a steep drop, with current incarceration rates back to those of the early 1980s and dropping.
Mayor DiBlasio has put his support behind alternatives to incarceration, including changes to the bail system and how senior and juvenile offenders are handled. The city also plans on building new, up-to-date jail sites in communities that are willing to have them.