Spotlights

Decarcerate Rikers

New York City’s five district attorneys must act now to keep New Yorkers safe.

Stephan Khadu, Tomas Carlo, Thomas Braunson III, Jose Mejia Martinez, Brandon Rodriguez, Segundo Guallpa, Isaabdul Karim, Javier Velasco, Richard Blake, Robert Jackson, Wilson Diaz-Guzman, Esias Johnson, Victor Mercado, and Anthony Scott all died in New York City’s jails just this year⏤bringing the death toll to fourteen.

These New Yorkers died unnecessarily behind bars. Rikers Island, the city’s notorious jail complex, is a death trap, and the roughly 5,600 people incarcerated in the New York City jail system right now are at risk of becoming the next victim.

A coalition of 15 community and advocacy groups, including the Vera Institute of Justice and Color of Change, have been sounding the alarm for weeks about the full-blown public safety and humanitarian crisis at Rikers Island.

We have issued a public call to New York City’s five District Attorneys in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island to take immediate action to decarcerate Rikers Island.

The Rikers Island crisis has only grown since the onset of the pandemic. The obligation remains for district attorneys to use their power and discretion to save lives.
  • Get the facts ->

  • 14 people

    have died in New York City's Jails this year alone.

  • Nearly

    1 in 6 people

    at Rikers Island have been detained pretrial for longer than 600 days.

  • The jail population at Rikers has increased by

    47%

    since spring 2020.

  • The coalition’s recommendations would decrease the jail population by at least

    2,000 people

    almost immediately.

  • COVID-19 rates of infection behind bars is

    5 times higher

    than the community average.

  • Nearly

    90%

    of the people at Rikers Island are Black or Latinx.

We cannot wait until the next death to take action on Rikers Island. If ever there was a moment for district attorneys to act boldly to keep New Yorkers safe, now is it.