March 31, 2017
Video available at: http://youtu.be/1FSA89nW0nQ
"New York City has always been better than Rikers Island. I am proud to chart a course for our city that lives up to this reality.
"Our success in reducing crime and reforming our criminal justice system has paved a path off Rikers Island and toward community-based facilities capable of meeting our criminal justice goals.
"There is no doubt that the road to Rikers Island's closure will be long and arduous. It will require that local officials and stakeholders stand up and support facilities that meet our moral obligation to thousands of New Yorkers whose lives we will never turn our backs on. It will require that our state government, and each component of our criminal justice system, contribute to the reform efforts critical to reducing our jail population and improving re-entry services and educational programming. The length of this process will also require continued investment in the facilities and conditions on Rikers Island that remain key to rehabilitation efforts for thousands of New Yorkers in the years ahead.
"This moment would not be possible without the work of Speaker Mark-Viverito, who has helped fuel the progress toward a more just criminal justice system."