Mayor Adams must act now to close Rikers

As a candidate, Mayor Eric Adams said he wanted to “close the pipeline that feeds Rikers Island,” but now he's trying to walk back that commitment.  

  • The mayor has failed to adequately fund crucial services like education, housing and treatment, while keeping law enforcement funding intact.
  • Over 1,000 people in NYC jails are diagnosed with a serious mental illness, and the death toll in DOC custody keeps rising. People have died from suicide, overdose, and medical neglect. 
  • 90% of people held at Rikers have not been convicted – they are awaiting trial. Many are incarcerated only because they cannot afford to pay their bail amount. Over 1,000 people have been awaiting trial on Rikers for more than a year.

Mayor Adams must protect the human rights of all New Yorkers by reducing incarceration TODAY, improving safety in our city and in the jails, and advancing the closure of Rikers.


STEP 1: A) Copy the text below, click on this link, and paste the text into Message. B) In Message Topic, select “Public Safety” C) For the rest of the fields on the page, only zip code and email are required, D) click Submit

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Mayor Adams,

For over 150 years, Rikers Island has robbed generations of Black, Brown, and poor New Yorkers of their freedom and their human rights, and fueled a cycle of trauma and violence that makes our entire city less safe. The Rikers Island jails, and their extension, “The Boat,” have no place in a city committed to equity and justice. They should have been closed long ago, and you must be the Mayor to get it done.  

Closing Rikers is both a legal and moral mandate, and the plan in place to do it was hard-won through years of advocacy and community engagement, involving formerly incarcerated people, impacted family members, faith leaders, service providers, community organizations, and other allies. We need your leadership NOW to move that plan forward, while also addressing the deadly crisis in the city jails.  

To advance this plan now, we call on you to: 

- Permanently close the Otis Bantum Correctional Center and immediately transfer it to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services under the Renewable Rikers Act

- Immediately redirect city funding to expand community-based mental health resources and affordable & supportive housing

- Direct the Department of Correction Commissioner to utilize the 6A program to release all eligible people serving City sentences

- Direct the Mayors Office of Criminal Justice to convene Population Review Teams to rapidly identify alternatives to incarceration and reduce case delays while giving everyone due process

- Reconvene the Commission on Community Reinvestment and the Closure of Rikers, and implement its recommendations

- Adopt a faster timeline to close the Rose M Singer Center through expanded resources and diversion for women and gender-expansive people


As long as Rikers Island exists, New York City cannot be the safe and just city we aspire to be. It’s time to turn the page.


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