Press Statements

End NYC’s Death Penalty: Advocates Call on Mayor Adams to Address the Crisis on Rikers

September 30, 2022


Nick Encalada-Malinowski: 

Keli Young:


Find the Full List of Demands for Mayor Adams Here

NEW YORK — This week, ahead of a City Council hearing to end the tortuous practice of solitary confinement in NYC jails and following the news of the DOC Commissioner, Louis Molina, covering up the 16th death in their facilities, VOCAL-NY joined advocates in sending demands to Mayor Eric Adams to address the crisis on Rikers. The demands include:

  • Issuing an official call to make decarceration the guiding policy goal of New York City. 
  • Calling on Eric Adams to present a plan to  “close the pipeline that feeds Rikers”  no later than Nov. 1, 2022 that incorporates recommendations made by The Commission on Community Reinvestments and the Closure of Rikers Island
  • Addressing gendered harm on Rikers by establishing an accountability metric for the implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act

The full list of demands can be found here.

“The abusive behavior displayed by COBA and corrections guards on City Hall steps this week is exactly how they behave in Rikers. There is no humanity in how they treat people and no humanity in how they treated me when I was detained,” said Eileen Maher, VOCAL-NY Civil Rights Union Leader.  

BACKGROUND: Every person remanded to Rikers Island faces the potential of a death sentence. In 2022 alone, 16 people have died while on Rikers – an alarming crisis the mayor and elected officials have refused to take action on. Advocates are demanding that all officials – the Mayor, Governor, judges, prosecutors, state and local lawmakers – do everything in their power to release people from Rikers, stop sending people to these deadly jails, and make sure all people’s human rights are protected.


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