Gov. Hochul expands virtual court hearings at troubled Rikers

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FILE – This March 16, 2011 file photo shows a barbed wire fence outside inmate housing on New York’s Rikers Island correctional facility in New York. New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex, troubled by years of neglect, has spiraled into turmoil during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed an executive order expanding the use of virtual court appearances at New York City’s infamous Rikers Island jail complex.

The order allows a court to have virtual appearances instead of requiring them to be in person.

Hochul said allowing more use of virtual appearances instead of requiring inmates to be physically transferred would make the legal process go faster.

She said corrections officers would be able to focus more on supervision and safety without having to spend as much time transporting detainees.

Calls for action have taken on extreme urgency at Rikers, which many officials have said is in a dangerous state.

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