Closing of Rikers Island Jail Complex
The issue considered by this team is that of closing Rikers Island jail complex, which was established in 1932. The closure of this jail will affect inmates and the people working in the Island. It will also affect the people living in the surrounding community through the opening of smaller jails. Another issue involved in the closure of this jail was the deplorable condition of the jail and its effects on the inmates. Aside from the inmates, the existence of the jail on the Island had also contributed increased rates of drug trafficking and poor treatment of the inmates.
The Rikers Island Jail Complex dates back to the beginning of the 1920s, where the project was initiated over a landfill full of garbage. The conditions of the jail continued worsening throughout the years. The worsening conditions of the jail has left long-lasting effects on the inmates. The conditions of the jail have been described as a violation of human rights. It was opened in 1935 and its overcrowding reached its peak in 1954. In 1969, the capacity of the jail was almost twice the size of the jail. Other issues affecting the jail over the years included sexual abuse, excessive beating of inmates, and cases of drug trafficking on the island. In 2015, the FBI opened an investigation to determine the illegal activities taking place in the island and the participation of the correction officers in these activities. In 2016, the city council called for the closure of Rikers Island Jail. At that time, the New York mayor, Bill de Blasio was not in agreement with the idea of closing the jail. In 2017, the final decision was made to close Rikers Island Jail Complex.
The current controversies affecting the closure of Rikers Island jail included the need to close it due to its deplorable conditions, challenges of building the new facilities for holding the prisoners. Another controversy affecting this project was the reason behind de Blasio’s involvement in building a bigger facility for the prisoners and whether his reasons were based on his need to be reelected. The politicians also decided to turn the closure of the jail project into a debate as most council members in the district of the area where the new jail was to be build were opposed to that idea.
The person involved in the project is the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. He is also influenced by the commission of corrections and council as the commission recommended closure of Rikers jail due to its conditions.
The government should support the closure of the Rikers Island jail due to its deplorable condition and its violation of human rights. Aside from that, the government should use the evidence found by the FBI to eliminate cases such as drug trafficking from the island. While building a new jail is essential, the government should also focus on formulating programs that can benefit the inmates while serving their jail time. They should supply them with skills and tools that will allow them to become productive to their society after their release. Strict measures should also be implemented that will discourage the correctional officers from mistreating the inmates. In support of the new jail, the government should ensure that the jails are not overcrowded and provide the inmates with appropriate care.
Although the mayor was initially against the idea of closing the jail, its continued deteriorating condition requires immediate action. Changing the condition of the jail will promote human rights and reduce risks of suicide or other poor treatment of the inmates.