(New York, NY)—Archana Jayaram, President & CEO of Osborne Association, issued the following statement in response to today’s federal court hearing regarding Rikers Island receivership:
“Osborne Association applauds today’s decision by Judge Laura Swain to move toward placing Rikers Island into federal receivership. Inhumane conditions and preventable deaths at Rikers have been extensively documented, and this dramatic step is necessary in order to address decades of deeply ingrained challenges.
As part of DOC’s ongoing efforts to make progress and improve conditions, nonprofits’ daily jail-based programs that were cut in the City’s FY24 budget should be immediately restored. If they are not, when appointed, the receiver should immediately restore them as an important step in reducing violence and increasing community connections for detained individuals. These programs ensured that thousands of incarcerated New Yorkers received critical services, including cognitive behavioral therapy, employment readiness, conflict avoidance, and reentry preparation. Bringing these nonprofit programs back will offer a beacon of hope and a source of resilience at Rikers, while promoting successful reentry and public safety.
However, the receivership process will inevitably take time, and action must be taken now to improve conditions in the shorter term. New Yorkers who are being detained at Rikers cannot wait for relief. The City must ensure people can get to court and appear in front of a judge in a timely manner; resolve the cases of the 484 people who have been on Rikers for more than two years; and divert the 50% of people with mental health diagnoses to a public health-based system.
The trauma of detention has ripple effects far beyond the individuals who are held at the jail complex, impacting tens of thousands of children and families, particularly communities of color. Improving conditions at Rikers Island is a moral imperative. Both short- and long-term solutions must be pursued in order to create meaningful change.”
About Osborne Association
Osborne Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the criminal legal system and supporting individuals, families, and communities affected by incarceration. Through advocacy, direct service, and policy reform, Osborne works to create opportunities for people to heal, grow, and thrive. For more information, please visit www.osborneny.org.