NYUJ Statement on Gov. Hochul’s Effort to Address Rikers Crisis
September 29, 2021

New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) Executive Director Alexander Horwitz released the following statement on Governor Kathy Hochul’s continued response to the horrific humanitarian crisis on Rikers Island:

“We remain gravely concerned by the ongoing humanitarian emergency on Rikers Island and commend Governor Hochul for her continued efforts to identify ways her office can address the crisis and immediately provide relief for New Yorkers languishing there.

“While Governor Hochul’s most recent actions show her commitment to addressing the Rikers crisis head-on, the root of the problem remains an unconscionable and self-inflicted staff shortage at the facility, apparently organized by the Corrections Officers union, that is jeopardizing the lives of the people incarcerated there and the remaining staff, and threatens to throw the city’s criminal legal system into chaos. Our Coalition—which includes many of the most prominent criminal justice organizations in New York and around the country—believes the only path forward is for state and city officials and criminal legal system stakeholders to embrace the Governor’s sense of urgency and immediately take action. Our leaders can and must move to decarcerate individuals in our jails and prisons, address the disastrous staffing issues on Rikers Island, and ensure fair and humane policies are in place. 

We stand firmly committed to working with State and local partners who are willing to join our Coalition and Governor Hochul by advancing commonsense criminal legal policy with the gravity and urgency this crisis demands.”