The City“It’s concerning that Deputy Commissioner Townsend’s removal was a top goal of COBA and this incoming administration capitulated,” said Darren Mack, co-director of Freedom Agenda in the Urban Justice Center.
PoliticoDarren Mack, a co-director of Freedom Agenda, said the current crisis at Rikers, with 15 deaths this year in the city jail system, makes moving forward with the plan all the more urgent. “This is something that survivors of Rikers, advocates and allies have fought for and we believe that definitely the next administration should stick to the plan,” he said. “It’s a human rights crisis. What could be more urgent than that?”
CBS News"There was also no surprise,” former inmate Darren Mack said. That’s the reaction Mack had after learning another inmate in less than a week died on Rikers Island. Mack said he spent nearly two years on Rikers back in the ’90s, and the former inmate says the conditions were not great. “I recall, like, walking into solitary confinement, and there was, like, a Plexiglas over one of the cells and the cell Plexiglas was covered from top to bottom with feces,” he said.
Queens ExaminerDarren Mack, co-director of Freedom Agenda and a formerly incarcerated activist, has been involved with the initiative to close Rikers Island since 2016. “Every human being should be equal in dignity and rights,” said Mack. “Unfortunately, that is not the case for people who are funneled into New York City’s jail system which is a human rights crisis. Judges and DA’s are sending people to a potential death sentence. “If the Department of Corrections cannot keep people safe and alive, then they should not have people in their custody,” he added.
AMNYJudges, prosecutors, the Mayor, the Governor, and other elected officials have shown a complete indifference to the lives of incarcerated people, as they send hundreds more New Yorkers each week into the deadly conditions on Rikers and The Boat,” said Darren Mack, a survivor of Rikers Island and co-founder of the Freedom Agenda, which seeks to have all Rikers Island jails closed. “William Brown, Malcolm Boatwright, and fourteen others this year were meted out death sentences by the NYC jail and court system. A system this morally bankrupt, dysfunctional, and neglectful lacks the legitimacy to detain anyone. The only practical and humane solution is immediate decarceration.
Queens Daily Eagle“Organized by the Urban Justice Center’s Freedom Agenda, more than a dozen activists, public defenders and members of CourtWatch NYC gathered outside to demand a better system on International Human Rights day... “Every human being should be equal in dignity and rights. Unfortunately, that is not the case for people who are funneled into NYC’s jail system which is a human rights crisis,” said Freedom Agenda Co-Director Darren Mack.
ABC 7 NYAdvocates support Mayor de Blasio's decision to close Rikers, with conditions there rapidly deteriorating - it is dangerously overcrowded, filthy, and severely short-staffed. Many at Rikers are still awaiting trial, and are innocent until proven guilty. "They're not just inmates or people that are sitting there because they committed a crime or like I like to say, they were accused of a crime. They haven't had a day in court," said Edwin Santana.
As Staffing Shortage On Rikers Island Remains Big Concern, Vaccine Deadline For NYC Correction Officers Expires
CBS NewsWhen a correction officer doesn’t come to work, people don’t eat. People miss medical appointments. People are committing suicide. People are dying,” said Brandon Holmes co-director of Freedom Agenda. “Now, this vaccine mandate, yes, can be a tool to make sure that they are held accountable.
Queens Daily EagleThe degree of civilization in the city can be judged by entering its jail, and it would be fair to say that we are living in a state of barbarism,” said Darren Mack, the co-director of Freedom Agenda. “I urge [the City Council] to move forward with the borough based plan if we want to rid ourselves of a barbaric system.
Gothamist"The Mayor has failed to address the fact that thousands of guards are still collecting their paychecks without working, while incarcerated people have been abandoned in de-facto lockdown without adequate food, recreation, medical care, access to courts and more for months,” said Darren Mack, co-director of Freedom Agenda, an organization pushing for decarceration. “The guards who are working have also been abandoned by their co-workers who are abusing leave policies, and by COBA, whose leadership seems more concerned with the nearly one-third of their members who aren't working with incarcerated people than the 70% who are putting in overtime to cover for them.”