New York City Mayor Eric Adams today released the following statement on reforming Rikers Island:
“This administration took control of Rikers Island amidst historic challenges, including deliberate disinvestment in the jail complex, an ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and huge staffing challenges. Since Commissioner Molina assumed office, in conjunction with the federal monitor, we’ve seen reductions in use of force and assaults on staff, increased searches for weapons and contraband, and sick leave that has dropped to levels not seen since before last summer’s horrendous shortages.
“On the first day of my administration, I appointed Commissioner Molina to lead this work, and he is laying the groundwork for long-term change. As a corrections professional with a proven track record who worked successfully with a monitor and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District to reform the Westchester County Jail, I know he is the right person to take on this extraordinarily difficult work. Fixing Rikers is critically important, a moral imperative, and we need to get it right. But to do that, we need the opportunity to implement our plan. These are generational challenges, deeply ingrained, and no administration can solve them in less than four months. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with the federal monitor and all other stakeholders.”