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New York state seeks expedited timeline to close city’s Rikers Island jail

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York state officers on Wednesday really useful rushing up New York City’s timeline for closing its Rikers Island jail, saying the troubled facility is violating inmates’ constitutional rights and state legal guidelines.

Although New York Mayor Bill de Blasio final March laid out a timeline of up to 10 years for closing the jail, the state Commission of Correction, referred to as the schedule unreasonable, given the rise in “violent incidents and degrading conditions” on the complicated.

“Consequently, given the city’s inaction and protracted 10-year proposal, it is now time for the commission to examine steps to expeditiously close Rikers and to ensure that the constitutional rights of inmates and staff are protected,” the fee, which is appointed by the governor, stated in a report to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

A mayoral spokeswoman famous federal monitor overseeing the jail is charged with elevating considerations about inmates’ constitutional protections, however has but to achieve this.

De Blasio, in the meantime, on Wednesday introduced an settlement with the City Council to streamline the approval course of for establishing 4 different jails all through the town, three of which exist already, into which Rikers Island inmates could possibly be transferred.

“This agreement marks a huge step forward on our path to closing Rikers Island,” de Blasio stated in a press release that didn’t specify by how a lot, if in any respect, the settlement would velocity up the timeline.

De Blasio’s assertion stated there was no instant manner to safely close the complicated as a result of the present capability of the town’s different jails is barely a mixed 2,300, whereas Rikers Island handles about 9,000 individuals per day.

Under the settlement, the mayor stated the jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens in addition to a brand new web site within the Bronx would create area for five,000 Rikers Island detainees.

Cuomo’s chief counsel, Alphonso David, referred to as the settlement the “first positive step” for shuttering Rikers, the place he stated circumstances have been insupportable, and chided metropolis officers for agreeing to a 10-year closing plan.

The state report examined 5 different county jails, however discovered Rikers Island to have many extra incidents of violence, together with intercourse offenses, though it has lower than half the variety of inmates within the state’s county jails.

State officers have the ability to order hearings main to the closing of correctional amenities which are “unsafe, unsanitary or inadequate to provide for the separation and classification of prisoners.”

Reporting by Peter Szekely; enhancing by Susan Thomas and G Crosse

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