New York, NY — On Friday, October 4, Progressive Caucus Caucus sent a letter* to the Mayor’s office demanding more criminal justice reforms and community investments as the Council approaches the ULURP vote for the borough-based jail plan.
Among the Progressive Caucus’ key demands is a call for the Mayor to commit to significant investments in communities disproportionately harmed by incarceration, namely a specific funding stream for this purpose with a commitment to investing $5B+ over 10 years to healthcare, housing, education, youth services and other fundamental resources to provide New Yorkers a real safety-net infrastructure. This funding stream is especially important to prevent New Yorkers with serious mental illness from being entangled in the criminal justice system, as in the case of Qulon McCain. These individuals are in need of treatment and care instead of punitive measures, and therefore should be treated in facilities outside of DOC management and the criminal justice system.
Additionally, the Caucus believes that the City must take immediate action to legally ensure that Rikers will be closed once and for all, continually reduce the population of people detained through policy-driven reform, codify a set of minimum standards of conditions for facilities, increase the ratio of counselors and social workers that interact with incarcerated individuals, transition people with serious mental health and acute medical needs to a treatment setting outside of Department of Corrections control, and explore a standalone facility for women, trans, and gender non-conforming (TGNC) New Yorkers, in addition to providing a clearer, overall timeline for the closure of Rikers and sequencing of the borough-based facilities.
The Caucus recognizes that the campaign to close Rikers has always been more than about closing down the physical structure; the campaign intended to reshape criminal justice as we know it so the City would become less reliant on pre-trial detention and instead provide the supports and resources needed to help keep people out of jail entirely. As one of the original stewards of the Close Rikers campaign, the Caucus will be pushing the City to adopt policy reforms and investments to achieve the broader social justice goals of the original campaign to close Rikers.
*Correction: The letter incorrectly describes the acronym for IMTs as Incident Management Teams (IMT). The correct acronym meant to be used is Intensive Mobile Treatment.