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Protesters gathered outside Town Hall on Wednesday to demand the closure of Rikers Island

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New York City (WABC) – Protesters gather outside New York City Hall on Wednesday, calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to shut down Rikers Island.

The protest will take place the day after New York State Attorney General Letitia James visits the prison with district attorneys from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.

She says she was “deeply moved” by what she saw.

“I visited Rikers Island with District Attorney (Darcel) Clark, (Melinda) Katz and (Erik) Gonzalez, and I was deeply concerned about what we saw,” she said. .. “For years Rikers has been plagued by dysfunction, neglect and violence. It is clear that we have reached the limit. These situations have resulted in an unprecedented and devastating number of deaths. It is urgent to take action. I investigate everything. It is one of the legal options in my office to deal with this dire situation immediately. “

James says his office is considering legal options for dealing with the controversial prisons.

Related | Rikers Island officers ‘scared to return to work’ as violence skyrockets

Separately, four New York parliamentarians demanded the release of prisoners and the closure of Riker after another prisoner was reported dead at the facility.

Democrats Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Jerry Nadler, Jamaal Bowman and Nidia Velasquez wrote Tuesday in a letter to New York City mayors Kathy Hokul and Bill de Blasio that the situation in the prison was “sad, humane.” It’s a crisis. “Brasio.

The request followed the eleventh reported death on Rikers Island this year. The city’s correctional office said the prisoner died in jail on Sunday and was taken to the clinic after reporting he felt ill.

His death came shortly after Hokul and De Blasio announced plans to improve the situation on Rikers Island, where long-standing problems had worsened during the pandemic.

Members said the prison was unable to provide inmates with basic services and protection from the COVID-19 outbreak. Their letter.

Earlier, de Blasio announced that 100 NYPD police officers would be used to rescue prison officers currently working in city courts and then to address staff shortages.

Staff will be assigned to the Eric M. Taylor center in prison to expedite admission. The mayor said it would take less than 24 hours.

Mayor De Blasio also announced that the city is suing the Prison Officer Charity Association, a union representing prison officers, over the dangerous situation of the Rikers.
The city demands that unions stop tolerating mass absenteeism, work suspensions or slowdowns.

The number of prison officers absent without vacation has increased by more than 215% over the past two years.

Related | Protests made when New York City Council holds hearing into Rikers situation

Late last week, New York Governor Kathy Hokul announced that he had signed the Les Is More Act and that 191 prisoners held for non-violent parole violations would be released immediately.

The bill, which will come into effect in March next year, removes petty offenses committed by parolees as grounds for referral to court, including postponing promises and breaking curfews.
De Blasio said only prisoners who “do not pose an imminent threat” have been released and that in some cases the city has had to return to court to deport them.

Vincent Schiraldi, New York City Department of Corrections, praising the signing of the bill.

“Governor Hokur is deeply grateful for prioritizing the signing of this important law and his cousin, the Mass Director, which marks a major step forward in ending the era of mass imprisonment,” did he declare. “The elimination of non-criminal and technical parole offenses is decent and humane, and public safety can only be ensured by disrupting the cycle of imprisonment at the critical moment when people are reintegrating into the community. I will also increase. I am also very grateful for using the governor. Its discretion to implement aspects of the bill that can benefit immediately without waiting for March. “

However, Albany’s Republicans quickly disapproved.

“Today’s Democrats in Albany have quadrupled their pre-crime, anti-victim and anti-law enforcement policies by ordering hundreds of criminals to be fully released under ‘increasingly’ laws ”. Republican Senator Rob Ortt said. “Under the one-party regime, violent crime is on the rise across the state. It started with the so-called “bail reform” of the Democratic Party of Japan in 2019 – and it will no doubt be exacerbated by this new law signed today. .. Facts aside, New York again favors criminals over victims, and perhaps the most frightening factor is that the law was partly written by a murderer who was in fact convicted. By signing this bill, Albany Democrats are claiming that “less the more” means fewer criminals behind bars and, therefore, more victims. “

The city hired 600 new officers this fall, but the union says it has lost many due to resignations and retirements in recent months.

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Protesters gathered outside Town Hall on Wednesday to demand the closure of Rikers Island

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