Legal Aid Society


LAS: Mayor Adams Cannot Ignore Deaths on Rikers

Earlier today, Mayor Eric Adams visited Rikers Island for a press event announcing weapons and contraband that had been recovered from the facility. However, the Mayor continues to deny the ongoing crisis in City jails. Nine people have died in custody this year, including the two New Yorkers since Sunday.

“This is emblematic of how City Hall views incarcerated people as second-class citizens, guilty until proven innocent and unworthy of compassion,” reads a statement from The Legal Aid Society. “The rhetoric about highly militarized searches for weapons and drugs ignores that the overwhelming majority of drugs smuggled into the jails are carried by correction officers, and exacerbates the sense that this Administration continues to be in denial about the realities on Rikers Island.”

“Mayor Adams and Commissioner Molina have not acted with urgency and commitment to run the jails with even basic levels of correctional competence,” the statement continues. “While Mayor Adams makes these press announcements, people held inside the jails are unsupervised as staff continue to stay home from work with impunity and basic jail services remain in limbo. The extraordinarily high death rate on Mayor Adams’ watch, and the suffering of all who are kept in abysmal conditions inside, are a humanitarian crisis that this Administration seems incapable of rectifying any time soon.”