The vast majority of women at Rikers are awaiting trial, and this op-ed by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Sharon White-Harrigan lays out the path to reduce the population of women and gender-expansive people currently detained on Rikers Island, referencing our co-authored report, Path to Under 100.
Written by Vincent Schiraldi, the former commissioner of New York City’s Departments of Correction, this article urges looking at New York City's history of substantially reducing incarceration over decades while simultaneously lowering crime when currently evaluating bail reform. With links to our Jail in New York City Evidence-Based Opportunities report, Schiraldi cites our research stating that individuals sentenced to city jails increases a person’s recidivism rate.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City’s court system has seen a backlog of cases, nearly 52,000 criminal cases were pending as of November 2021. The article cites our report on closing Rikers Island that found that improvements to the court backlog and case processing times could lower the city jail population by more than 1,000 people.
Saadiq Newton-Boyd knows from his experience with Brooklyn Justice Initiatives that you have to genuinely see potential in the community and let its members lead the way on the solutions to enact positive change.
Written by Judge Jonathan Lippmann, this opinion piece details some of the crises happening on Rikers Island and practical steps that could be taken to address them. With links to our Bail Reform at One Year report & our Closing Rikers Roadmap, the recommendations outlined would not only advance safety, fairness, and justice, but also reduce the jail population by at least 2,000 people.
Eric Lach for the New Yorker spends time in the courtroom at arraignment to understand some of the factors fueling the current crisis on Rikers Island. The article cites our research that identified a 2020 spike in judges setting bail and explores the alternatives that judges have to bail--like someone being released on their own recognizance or supervised release.
Citing our research, Gothamist looks at the role of pretrial decision-making in fueling the crisis on Rikers Island where the jail population has been rising steadily for months. “The research overwhelmingly indicates that releasing people reduces recidivism in the long run, and pre-trial detention increases it,” said Michael Rempel, our director of jail reform.
Citing our report on New York City's jail population under COVID-19 and our forthcoming lookback on the city and one year of bail reform, The New York Times reports city jails are now more full than they were before the start of the pandemic. The Times found unsafe conditions and the fear of contracting the virus are fueling a mental health crisis behind bars, with rising rates of self-harm among people detained.
New York City’s jail population is close to reaching pre-pandemic levels. The Appeal reports, "The city’s jail population, now over 4,700, is largely the result of a growing number of people held awaiting trial. According to a recent report by the Center for Court Innovation, between the end of April, when the city took emergency COVID-related decarceration measures, and Nov. 1, the pretrial population incarcerated in city jails has increased by more than 28 percent."
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