In April 2017, our Commission called for deep changes to the criminal justice system in New York City, including the permanent closure of the dysfunctional jail complex on Rikers Island.
Our initial report, titled A More Just New York City, was a roadmap for making jail a place of last resort and for developing a smaller system of more humane and better designed facilities near the borough courthouses—for a much lower number of incarcerated people.
As our report was released, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that closing the Rikers jails would be official City policy. Over the past year-and-a-half, the City, district attorneys, and courts have made real headway towards that goal. To make it a reality, legislative reforms in Albany and continued policy reforms from the City, district attorneys, and courts are necessary.
In this report, we evaluate the progress that has been made to date and identify urgent steps to improve the justice system and close the Rikers jails.