VOCAL-NY is one of over 60 organizations that recognize that there is a serious problem with New York City’s criminal justice system, specifically the city’s main jail complex Rikers Island. Over 80% of the detainees held at Rikers are without conviction and awaiting their day in court – either in extended pretrial detention or because they are unable to pay their bail. It costs an estimated $167,000 each year to imprison one of the 11,000+ inmates. 89% of inmates are Black or Latinx when only 53% of New York City is Black or Latinx. Rikers is draining communities of financial resources to imprison Black and Latinx New Yorkers, posing a clear racial, economic, and social problem for the city.
The #CLOSERikers Campaign aims to reduce the jail population through policing, bail, speedy trial, and correctional officer behavior reform.