In 2017, New York City committed to a long-term plan for closing the jails on Rikers Island. The Lippman Commission has provided data-backed strategies to safely reduce the jail population to reach this goal.
Rikers has to close as soon as possible. The jails there hurt public safety and endanger the lives of everyone inside their walls. They are a stain on the soul of our city. – former Chief Judge of the State of New York Jonathan Lippman
In 2016, the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, chaired by former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, developed a blueprint for policymakers and legal system actors to safely reduce the city's jail population. In 2017, New York City committed to a long-term plan for closing the jails on Rikers Island.
Past reports from the Commission are available below.
Past Reports from the Commission
Path to Under 100: Strategies to Safely Lower the Number of Women and Gender-Expansive People in Jail in New York City
In June 2022, the Women’s Community Justice Association, the Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, and the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College, and the Center for Justice Innovation released a report to address the 300 women and gender-expansive people incarcerated at Rikers Island who are uniquely vulnerable to elevated risks of sexual abuse and re-traumatization. This report builds on the findings of the July 2021 report with a targeted look at this specific group of people.
In July 2021, the Independent Commission and the Center for Justice Innovation released an updated plan that included a series of concrete, data-driven strategies to produce sizable jail reductions while prioritizing public safety. The report recommends numerous policy changes, covering everything from improving case processing times—85 percent of the population on Rikers is presumed innocent and waiting, generally for months, for their day in court—to ensuring people’s ability to pay bail is properly assessed, as is required by law. In combination, these changes can lastingly remake New York City’s approach to incarceration.
Created in 2016 by New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and chaired by former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform spent a year developing a blueprint for how to safely reduce the city's jail population in order to allow for the closure of Rikers. This is the Commission's original report, released in 2017.