Legal Aid Society


LAS: Mayor’s Refusal to Decarcerate Will Cost Lives

Mayor Bill de Blasio has rejected calls to decarcerate the City’s jails, despite pleas from advocates, elected officials, and the Board of Correction to do so, as reported by POLITICO.

Through Mayor de Blasio’s own plan, The Early Release (6A) Program, City Hall has the power to immediately release more than 250 people serving less than a year for low-level crimes, requiring them to serve the remainder of their short sentences on work-release.

There is a growing humanitarian crisis unfolding in City jails, where at least ten individuals have died this year. In addition to the increasing spread of COVID-19, a mass wave of staff absenteeism has compounded long-standing problems to create an extraordinarily dangerous environment for people in custody.

“You’ve simply turned your back,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society in a tweet responding to the Mayor’s refusal to utilize his own policy to get New Yorkers off Rikers Island. “Do these lives not matter to you? Go see for yourself and look them in the eye and tell them they aren’t a priority.”