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Proposal has Rikers Island becoming part of LaGuardia

05 April 2017

As the mayor and the City Council advance the closure of Rikers Island, the reality is that crime will continue to take place on the streets of New York City.

Ms. Mark-Viverito raised the possibility of closing Rikers in her State of the City speech in February 2016. The 146-page findings were posted Friday ahead of Sunday's formal announcement. The facility, notorious for violence at the hands of guards and among inmates, has been the subject of multiple local and federal investigations. The Jails to Jobs program will help connect them with jobs and opportunities outside of jail, as well as five hours of programming per day during their stay to address vocational, educational and therapeutic needs. In order to move inmates off of the island, the report lays out six borough-based jails that are located near courthouses.

Last year, LaGuardia served 30 million passengers, according to the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey. And I want to tell you something about mass incarceration. The locations for the new jails have not yet been selected.

The city has been under increasing pressure to shutter Rikers amid years of exposes, scathing Justice Department reports and a flurry of expensive lawsuits.

At the age of 16, Browder was convicted of stealing a book-bag in 2010.

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Independent Commission just released its highly anticipated report which calls to replace Rikers with several smaller facilities in all five boroughs that are closer to the courts and city centers.

The island, the report said, should be used to expand nearby LaGuardia Airport and to house waste-treatment and other unpopular facilities that are now housed primarily in poor neighborhoods. In recent years Browder's tragic story has become a rallying cry for advocates in the fight to reform the correctional facility. Two years after finally being released, Browder took his own life in his Bronx home, and his mother died a year later "of a broken heart". There are roughly 10,000 inmates at Rikers. Unable to make his $3,000 bail, Browder was held at the jail for three years without a trial.

"I saw fights people get stabbed, it really is survival of the fittest when you're in there", said Stanley Richards, a member of the commission who was locked up when he was a teen for robbery. "We now have a real plan".

"New York City has always been better than Rikers Island", de Blasio said.

Proposal has Rikers Island becoming part of LaGuardia