A sign that reads, "Rikers Island. Home of New York City's Boldest."

Close Rikers

Rikers Island is New York City’s main jail complex. Located in the East River and isolated from the rest of the city, Rikers has been historically known for corruption, inhumane conditions, and violence that affects not only the people incarcerated there, but also the correction officers.

On October 17, 2019, the New York City Council voted to close Rikers by 2026 and construct modern, more humane, borough-based jails. This is good news. However, we call on the City to close the jails on Rikers much faster than the current 2027 timeline and to work to immediately improve conditions on Rikers for those who remain incarcerated and those who work in the jails. 

On any given day, nearly 7,300 New Yorkers are jailed on Rikers, three out of four of them awaiting trial, charged but not convicted, and, in most cases, detained at Rikers because they cannot afford cash bail. More than 40 percent of our neighbors detained here suffer from mental health issues and almost 90 percent are people of color.