Jail Fail

The Story

Mayor de Blasio has embraced plans to shut down Rikers Island because it is too dangerous. But new reports indicate that the city’s other jails are also extremely unsafe. If the problem lies not with the particular facility but with the inmates themselves, what will closing Rikers Island accomplish? 

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Doubled: The number of inmates on Rikers has been halved since 1998, yet annual incidents of violence have doubled. Read more.

  2. Halved: The plan to close Rikers is part of a broader plan to reduce the city’s jail population by half, which would require effective decriminalization of most misdemeanor offenses. Read more.

  3. Violence: Escalating violence on Rikers has been enabled by lenient discipline policies, such as the elimination of punitive segregation for inmates under 21. Read more.

”...only the worst of the worst adolescent criminals go to jail, rather than to the far milder juvenile-justice system.”

Heather Mac Donald, Manhattan Institute Thomas W. Smith fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Jail Inferno By Heather Mac Donald (Summer 2009)

“A descent into the nation’s most tumultuous penal institutions, where modern order-maintenance techniques are bringing discipline.”

Featured Podcast

Tune in to City Journal‘s 10 Blocks Podcast
Shuttering Rikers
with Seth Barron, and Rafael Mangual


And in other news...

“There’s not a single rail in the ground, but the mayor’s plan to create a trolley along the Brooklyn waterfront has already cost the city at least $7 million in taxpayer money, The Post has learned.”