Emergency Rikers Relief Plan

Published on September 14, 2021, 2:43 pm
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Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed an emergency order to execute the Emergency Rikers Relief Plan, a five-point plan to address challenges on Rikers Island. In addition to the plan of City actions, the Mayor also called for action across the justice system, including immediately calendaring 500 court cases and enacting the Less is More Act.

“New York City will take any action necessary to keep everyone safe throughout the justice system. These reforms will do just that – both by taking immediate steps to put officers back on duty, and by making deeper reforms to reduce the number of incarcerated New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We will uphold our obligation to provide a safe, clean environment on Rikers Island while pivoting to a fairer and more humane justice system.”

The Mayor’s five-point plan includes:

  1. Adjust staffing at courts by shifting NYPD to help operate courts, allowing some Department of Correction (DOC) staff to shift back to duty on Rikers.
  2. Toughen accountability for AWOL staffers with 30-day suspensions for Correction officers who do not show up to a post.
  3. Expand medical evaluation capacity for staff with additional medical providers to evaluate DOC officers for duty.
  4. Engage in emergency contracting to quickly repair broken doors, clean facilities more efficiently, distribute commissary more quickly, scan mail onto tablets to reduce drugs entering facilities, and more.
  5. Speed intake to reduce crowding with a goal of moving people through the intake process in 24 hours or fewer. Two currently closed clinic spaces will be opened to allow greater capacity.

The mayor also called for actions across the justice system in the following areas:

  • enacting the Less is More Act, speeding up transfers out of Rikers into State-operated locations in five (5) days or less;
  • calendaring 500 court cases immediately out of the 5,000 people on Rikers Island in pre-trial, including over 1,500 people have been held for over one year;
  • encouraging judges to use supervised release for non-violent offenders, instead of pre-trial detention at Rikers.


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