New York City–In response to Mayor de Blasio’s plan to construct new jails to replace Rikers Island, Stanley Fritz, Citizen Action of New York’s Political Director, issued the following statement:

“Citizen Action of New York cannot support Mayor de Blasio’s plan to construct new jails to replace Rikers Island, or any plan that builds new prisons or jails. The Mayor’s proposal perpetuates a racist status quo that has devastated families across New York City. It would replace one inhumane institution–the Rikers Island Jail Complex–with another. 

“We urge the New York City Council to reject the Mayor’s plan and commit to closing Rikers by advancing implementation of bail and discovery reforms, razing unused jails on the Island, and making broad investments in our communities. Elected officials need to invest in solutions that create safer and healthier communities, like affordable housing, health care, mental health services, violence interruption and substance use programs, and interventions rooted in harm reduction and restorative justice – not a proposal that calls for an $11 billion investment in jails and fails to direct funds to community services and supports. The No New Jails campaign has outlined a strong plan for community investments in their “We Keep Us Safe” guide.

“Citizen Action is focused on the fight to end mass incarceration, close Rikers Island and the Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center (“The Boat”), implement the new bail and discovery laws, stop the over-policing of Black and Brown communities, hold district attorneys accountable to decarceration and end the racist War on Drugs.”