We asked the NYC Mayoral candidates urgent questions about the future of Rikers Island. Here are their answers.
NY Daily News“The prison-industrial complex is and has always been at odds with the labor movement, whose leaders have made it perfectly clear where their loyalties lie: with the victims of mass incarceration, not its facilitators. COBA may use the language of labor, but it is not defending the rights of its workers. It is defending the system of mass incarceration that continues to give them influence.”
‘When did you become God?’ Protesters press Bronx DA Clark to act as Rikers Island death toll hits 14
AM NY“With deaths and life-changing injuries continuing to occur at an alarming rate, the advocate groups consisting of #HaltSolitary Campaign, the Freedom Agenda, and more called for the prison to be decarcerated before the number reaches 15.”
NY Amsterdam NewsIn effect, as protesters take to the streets to close that “hell hole,” the cry of “Rikers equals death” has gained resonance, particularly after Freedom Agenda member Crystal Clarke voiced her demands at City Hall Park earlier this month. “I am here to let the elected officials know that our loved ones are on Rikers Island, and they do not deserve to feel as though they are cast away and out of sight and mind. They are being pushed to their limits mentally and physically every day. If our mayor, governor, judges, and DAs do not decarcerate they will contribute to the demise of hundreds of people.” Clarke herself is the partner of a person incarcerated on Rikers Island.
AM NY“The next Mayor will inherit the human rights catastrophe on Rikers and The Boat. But they will also inherit a plan to close them led by survivors of Rikers. They will either be the Mayor who implements this plan and erases that stain on NYC once for all; or the only mayor in the history of this City who took office with a plan to close Rikers in place but made a choice to leave it open. We won’t allow that,” said Darren Mack, co-director of Freedom Agenda."
Queens Daily Eagle“We believe more transfers can be made even before the end of the administration,” said Darren Mack, co-director of Freedom Agenda in the Urban Justice Center “The Mayor is not listening to the [officials] who call for decarceration and chose to listen to the police commissioner, who is basically lying to the public about the crime surge and connection to bail reform and COVID releases; due to that lack of courage to correct, the mayor is losing the opportunity to transfer buildings and more land to DCAS.”
NY Amsterdam NewsPeggy Herrera has worked for a major city agency that caters to troubled youth for the past six years. Herrera’s 23-year-old son, who she said would prefer to go by the name “Justin,” was medically diagnosed with anxiety and attention-deficit disorder when he was 6-years-old. Justin also traumatically lost his father at age 7. Herrera said that her son was arrested at 11-years-old by school safety agents because of a bag with brass knuckles in it, and that was the beginning of him being “criminalized” in the system.