Mayor and City Council Speaker Announce Plan to Close Rikers

06 April 2017

On March 31, 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced a plan to close Rikers Island in the next decade. Read part of the Mayor's statement, watch the press conference, and find the full report detailing the steps that will be taken to close Rikers below: 

Statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio on Closure of Rikers Island


"New York City has always been better than Rikers Island. I am proud to chart a course for our city that lives up to this reality.


Our success in reducing crime and reforming our criminal justice system has paved a path off Rikers Island and toward community-based facilities capable of meeting our criminal justice goals.


There is no doubt that the road to Rikers Island's closure will be long and arduous. It will require that local officials and stakeholders stand up and support facilities that meet our moral obligation to thousands of New Yorkers whose lives we will never turn our backs on. It will require that our state government, and each component of our criminal justice system, contribute to the reform efforts critical to reducing our jail population and improving re-entry services and educational programming. The length of this process will also require continued investment in the facilities and conditions on Rikers Island that remain key to rehabilitation efforts for thousands of New Yorkers in the years ahead.


This moment would not be possible without the work of Speaker Mark-Viverito, who has helped fuel the progress toward a more just criminal justice system."


The Commission's Report



“Dramatically reducing incarceration is just part of the larger project of reimagining justice. Going forward, the idea of community justice must become standard operating practice — investing in New York City neighborhoods damaged by past practice and creating stronger links between criminal justice agencies and the people they exist to serve. Going forward, every decision and interaction — whether on the street, in the courthouse, or behind the walls of our jails — must seek to advance the fundamental values of dignity and respect. And going forward, we must close the jail complex on Rikers Island. Period.”


 - The Honorable Jonathan Lippman 


A year ago City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito formed the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform to study the criminal justice system in New York City with a special focus on Rikers Island. The commission, chaired by former Chief Judge of the State of New York Jonathan Lippman, released a report that details a proposed process to decrease the jail population through alternatives to arrest, detainment, and incarceration; close Rikers Island; and create smaller, healthier community-based jails.

Osborne was pleased to participate throughout the commission's process and as a participant in the Justice In Design project that is creating designs for healthier jails. We celebrate the release of this report and the City's commitment to dramatically reduce the jail population and close Rikers.

Stay up to date on Osborne's involvement in the plan to close Rikers and our work to improve current conditions in the jails and throughout the City's corrections system. Join our e-news:

Contact details:
For more information about the Osborne Association, please contact:
Jonathan Stenger
(718) 707-2721