Legal Aid Society


Federal Monitor: Conditions on Rikers Island Remain Grave

Last month, The Legal Aid Society helped to secure an emergency order requiring immediate changes in the New York City jails to address the current humanitarian crisis unfolding in those facilities. In a newly issued report, the federal monitor overseeing uses of force within the jail system says the city has failed to address the gravely dangerous conditions in the jails, as reported by the PIX11 News.

“While the Department has taken a few positive actions concerns in the past two weeks, given the depth and dimension of the problems, these actions have not materially abated the high risk of harm prevalent in the daily operations of the New York DOC to both incarcerated persons and staff,” the report reads in part.

“The latest reports from the Monitor and the City continue to make clear the deep-seated ineptitude within the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) in protecting the people in its charge,” reads a statement from The Legal Aid Society.

“The high level of uses of force, dangerous incidents, and ongoing collapse in basic jail functions, are as gravely alarming as ever. Combined with the woefully insufficient measures the City has recently adopted, they show that the City is simply unwilling or unable to make the systemic changes to hold the staff and leadership accountable for humane and constitutional treatment of our clients,” the statement continues. “We will continue to take all necessary steps to protect our clients, defending the relief ordered by the court in this case and seeking the necessary additional relief at every opportunity.”

This year alone, 12 people have died in New York City jails, including five by suicide. The Legal Aid Society continues to call on leaders at all levels of government to remove New Yorkers from the dire situation on Rikers. Legal Aid is also demanding accountability from judges and district attorneys who can stop requesting and setting bail, keeping New Yorkers off of Rikers pre-trial.