Closing down Rikers Island?
So you’ve heard about closing down Rikers? Perhaps, but here is why it may never happen. This article a few days ago here, which discussed the closing of rikers. The City thought the people of Staten Island would be perfectly fine with a min-Rikers Island moving in. Clearly, they are not. The site, which already houses three schools would somehow take the place of Rikers. Staten Island, which has the least of all crime of the five boroughs, and the most traffic, would now house the people. And what goes with housing them? Transporting them to court! So you’ve taken a borough with the least court appearances and the most traffic and now have to drive these guys in and out of essentially, another island! How did that help?
Another issue that no one is considering is bail. The reason so many people are in rikers is because they have bail they can’t make. Bail is set by judges, not the City, a City employee, the DOC, or even the attorneys. It is set by a judge who is typically at the beginning of their careers (otherwise they wouldn’t be sitting in arraignment court at 1AM). No judge wants to start their career by being known as the judge that ROR’ed a criminal only to have that criminal go murder someone when they should have been sitting in jail. So the Judge has no incentive not to place bail. Regardless, none of that has to do with “city policy” and can’t be changed simply because Rikers is dangerous.
These are one of the many reasons why it is not so simple to just close down rikers. Well, I should specify. You can close it down. But replacing it with something else hasn’t actually accomplished anything at all.