Town hall meeting held to discuss possible shutdown of Rikers Island

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HARLEM, Manhattan – Rikers Island has been described as the worst place in America and in town hall Monday night, city leaders discussed what to do with the prison.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark at the event hosted by the National Action Network admitted there's a "real crisis" at 413-acre jail complex.

"Rikers Island is in the Bronx jurisdiction," Clark said."And right now it's the worst neighborhood I have in the Bronx."

The town hall was held by Rev. Al Sharpton, the Bronx DA and corrections officers' union but it didn't mean they were all on the same side.

Sharpton went after the officers for their alleged abuse.

"The union is defending criminals that are correction officers," Sharpton said.

That debate raged on but one question remained: if you close Rikers, where do the inmates go?

"Close them and put people where? House them where? And what will the conditions be?" Sharpton said.

As PIX11 has uncovered, violence at Rikers is at a five-year high. Inmates and officers have seen violence from both sides.

"I am for reform but give me a plan," Norman Seabrook, correction officers' benevolent association president said. "At the end of the day, there will always be criminals. There will always be crime."

Then there were those who thought this would be a one-sided town hall, as some in the crowd began to shout angrily during the town hall.

When asked about why former inmates weren't invited, Sharpton said Monday night was about the correction officers and would have future town halls with ex-cons.