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Maloney, Ocasio-Cortez, and Torres Tour Rikers Island: Members Call on City to Address Inhumane Conditions, Release Low-Level Offenders

October 12, 2021

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) toured the Rikers Island jail complex and spoke with Rikers’ officials regarding the current state of the facility.

“Today, we saw first-hand the horrific conditions that individuals incarcerated on Rikers Island are living under and the support staff and corrections officers are working under. It is inexcusable that the number of in-custody deaths on Rikers Island has more than quadrupled over the past two years, including five individuals who have died of suspected suicides this year alone. While we welcome the signing of the Less is More Act, we must take action to improve conditions at the facility for incarcerated people, support staff, and corrections officers. To address overcrowding, we can act today by beginning the decarceration process, supporting individuals’ return to their communities, and working with the Courts to reduce pretrial sentencing and to expedite hearings for those currently incarcerated.

“The City, State, and federal government must immediately take action to correct the humanitarian crisis on Rikers Island, and provide a safe and clean environment – including ensuring access to medical care for those incarcerated there. The inhumane conditions we witnessed today are a stain on the City and State of New York. Riker’s horrific history must come to an end.”