February 18, 2018

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New York City Officials Reach Deal On Shuttering Rikers Island

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A security fence surrounds the inmate housing on New York’s Rikers Island correctional facility in New York. Bebeto Matthews/AP hide caption

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New York City is one step closer, as part of a larger plan, to shutting the doors on the Rikers Island jail complex. On Wednesday, city officials announced an agreement to start a public review process of proposed sites for smaller jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

“This agreement marks a huge step forward on our path to closing Rikers Island,” said Mayor de Blasio. “In partnership with the City Council, we can now move ahead with creating a borough-based jail system that’s smaller, safer and fairer.”

If you’ve ever watched a TV crime drama set in New York City, you likely have a passing knowledge of the 10-complex jail facility on the 400-acre island in the East River.

However, the nearly 90-year-old facility has drawn attention for its conditions, and a 2017 government report slammed Rikers for its “culture of violence.” Late last year the city settled a class action lawsuit with 470 inmates who said they were illegally put in solitary

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