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LAS Reaffirms Need for Receiver Over of City Jails

The Legal Aid Society and Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, counsel for plaintiffs in Nunez v. City of New York, reaffirmed the need for independent leadership of City jails in a reply filed in litigation to hold the City in contempt and to appoint a  receiver to oversee the reform effort.

In the past, receiverships have been the vehicle for change in systems such as the California prisons and the Miami-Dade and New Orleans jails.

“Eight years of federal court monitoring of a consent decree and seven remedial orders have not abated the violence and harm inflicted on people held in New York City jails, including routine blows to the head and beatings while in restraints,” reads a statement from Legal Aid and Emery. “Excessive and unnecessary force is a pattern and practice. Supervisors can’t identify misconduct, much less address it.”

“The current Commissioner agrees that the violence is ‘unacceptable,’ but the City has not demonstrated it has the will or capacity to change its course and implement the reforms needed to protect our clients’ safety and their constitutional rights,” the statement continues. “Once again, the City asks that we ignore its disastrous record and rely on another set of promises that history tells us will overwhelmingly fall short.”

“This devastating status quo cannot continue,” the statement concludes. “A receiver with the appropriate authority and will to take action where the City will not is necessary to protect our clients and bring New York City’s jails into compliance with the Constitution.”