Smaller Safer Fairer: NYC's plan to close Rikers Island Progress Report

When the City’s roadmap to close Rikers was released in June 2017, the City’s jails had held an average of 9,400 people. By December 2018, the average daily population dropped to 7,959—a 15% decline, and a 30% decline since the Mayor took office.

This report provides an update on the City’s progress towards closing Rikers Island and building a modern and humane borough-based jail system.

New York City has the lowest rate of incarceration of all large U.S. cities, with fewer than 1 in 1,000 New Yorkers in custody on any given day. This report provides an update on the progress made through 2018 and just some of what New Yorkers can expect.

Since the release of the plan to close Rikers Island…

NYC Jails are Smaller

  • The jail population fell below 8,000 for the first time in 30 years and it is still falling.
  • The City has reduced the number of people serving short jail sentences by expanding three alternative to incarceration programs.
  • The City has reduced the number of people held on low bail by expanding a bail expediting program, creating the citywide Liberty Bail Fund, and launching an online bail payment system.

 NYC Jails are Safer

  • DOC officers are receiving training in de-escalation tactics, crisis intervention and conflict resolution, and mental health first aid.
  • There is now 100% camera coverage of areas on Rikers accessible to people in detention.
  • The City opened an additional Clinical Alternatives to Punitive Segregation (CAPS) unit to better serve people with severe mental health issues.

 NYC Jails are Fairer

  • DOC increased comprehensive program offerings for all eligible individuals in Department custody.
  • The City invested an additional $6 million in supportive services for incarcerated women and their families.
  • The City launched several programs to reduce unnecessary case delays for adolescents who are in custody.