Professor Michael Mushlin’s Op Ed “The Prisoners We Should Put on Rikers”

The decision announced Friday by Mayor de Blasio to endorse the central recommendation of an independent commission and close the sprawling jail complex on Rikers Island — by downsizing the city’s pretrial population and housing the remaining detainees and inmates in local jails close to courts — could be a major advance.

But the plan is missing one critical piece that would mark a real step forward for thousands of families throughout the five boroughs. Namely, we should keep Rikers open to incarcerate people convicted of crimes who would otherwise be sent upstate.

Locating pretrial detention facilities in the boroughs rather than on Rikers Island, which is nearly impossible for attorneys and court officials to access, will make the city’s criminal justice system more efficient and responsive to the values of our people and to the commands of the Constitution.

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