The recent passing of Venida Browder, mother of Kalief Browder, a young man whose three-year detention at Rikers and subsequent death reverberated throughout our nation, is yet another tragic reminder of the unnecessary and unjustified pain inflicted on the incarcerated and their families. After her death from heart problems, her lawyer posited that she died of a broken heart after her son committed suicide after his release from Rikers, where he spent 400 days in solitary confinement and endured multiple beatings by guards.
An independent panel formed by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to study the possibility of closing Rikers Island and reforming the criminal justice system has unveiled a new website designed to collect input from the public about the direction the jail should go in.
The Rikers Island commission created at the request of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is focusing on three broad areas as it looks at the future of the jail, former state chief judge Jonathan Lippman told POLITICO New York on Wednesday.
The speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, vowed on Thursday to pursue a new round of criminal justice reforms aimed at shrinking the jail population to such a degree that officials could eventually contemplate shuttering the city’s scandal-plagued jail complex on Rikers Island.