Public Advocate's Statement On Rikers Federal Monitor Calling For Outside Intervention

September 24th, 2021

Press Release

"I thank the federal monitor for recognizing the need that I and others have seen – for state and federal outside support to help address the crisis on Rikers that has taken two lives in the last few days. The Mayor finally agreeing to visit Rikers next week, as a result of sustained pressure rather than his sense of duty, does not excuse his long absence in presence or leadership. The monitor is right that the city’s role in allowing this emergency to grow and its failure to respond with the necessary speed and scope have made it clear that additional personnel and resources are needed on the island as we work to simultaneously decarcerate and safely return staff to work.

"Urgent aid from an outside entity is needed to restore and protect the health and safety of incarcerated people and staff alike. At the same time, care and caution is critical to ensure any outside presence alleviates, rather than adds to, the chaos and confusion inside. New personnel should be focused on medical, humanitarian, and administrative intervention. They must be incorporated with clear instructions and clear command structures to meet the clear need – not for carceral enforcement, but for disaster relief."

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