Jailed for ‘No Good Reason’

The chaos at New York’s Rikers Island facility, where reports of deaths and brutality once again grabbed headlines this month, should compel a long-overdue rethinking of what jails are used for, and how they can be transformed to meet the needs of the justice-involved, write two of the country’s leading advocates of incarceration reform.

Rikers Spirals into Crisis as Detainees Take Control

Lawlessness has become the norm inside New York’s Rikers Island jail complex, as detainees in some buildings have seized near total control over entire units, deciding who can enter and leave them, while others wander from building to building unrestricted, freeing others in custody.

jail

Individuals Awaiting Trial Represent 77% of Jail Suicides: BJS

Nearly a fifth (19 percent) of the nation’s 1,161 state and federal prisons and a tenth (9 percent) of the 2,845 local jails recorded at least one suicide in 2019, reported the Bureau of Justice Statistics. A second BJS report found that over three-quarters of a million individuals were held in local jails in mid-2019.

Rikers Jail in ‘State of Emergency’

“The level of disorder here is deeply, deeply troubling,” New York City Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said after viewing clips of three inmates attacking one another inside a cell at the sprawling Rikers Island facility.