NYCLU Welcomes Mayor’s Plans for Rikers Reforms in Executive Budget

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
April 26, 2016 1:45 pm

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The de Blasio administration announced today as part of its executive budget funding for a new facility for adolescents who are currently housed at Rikers. The proposed budget includes $170 million over the next two years to build or renovate an existing facility off the island, and will also provide other services to the general population at Rikers, including GED classes, work force training, substance abuse and life skill classes.

The following statement can be attributed to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“Investment in proven programs that are designed to enhance rehabilitation and reentry and reduce violence at Rikers is money well spent. These reforms are essential to ending the toxic culture of violence and abuse at Rikers.

“Today’s budget proposal commits to creating a plan to remove adolescents ages 16 and 17 off the island. Although that is no substitute for raising the age of criminal responsibility so that teenagers would never be sent to a violent and dysfunctional adult facility like Rikers in the first place, the budget allows New York City to begin taking steps that could be life-saving for many young people. We urge the city to set deadlines to ensure that young people are entirely removed as quickly as possible from Rikers and put into a rehabilitative facility where they are treated like the juveniles that they are.

“The city must simultaneously undertake reforms to move towards substantially reducing the jail population at Rikers, closing down the dilapidated facility and creating a new culture built on rehabilitation, support for re-entry and zero-tolerance for the abuse that has become synonymous with Rikers.”

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