On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio committed to a long-term plan for closing the jails on Rikers Island. The mayor's historic announcement coincided with the release of the final report of the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.
Created by New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and chaired by former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, the blue-ribbon Commission has spent the past year developing a blueprint for how to safely reduce the city's jail population. Mark-Viverito and Judge Lippman described this vision in a New York Times op-ed entitled, Closing Rikers Island Is a Moral Imperative.
The Center for Court Innovation is proud to have worked with a multi-agency team to staff the Lippman Commission and produce its report. Our partners in this effort included the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance, Vera Institute of Justice, Latham & Watkins LLP, Forest City Ratner Companies, Global Strategy Group, and HR&A Advisors.
There are miles to go before the dream of closing Rikers Island can be realized. But it is worth pausing today to celebrate this landmark moment.