Women, transgender inmates being moved out of NYC’s Rikers Island jail complex

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Rikers Island jail complex

Rikers Island jail complex

NEW YORK — Nearly all of the women and transgender inmates detained at Rikers Island will be transferred from the jail complex, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

The news comes on the heels of widespread criticism of the facility from both the people incarcerated there and the workers guarding the jail.

“The situation on Rikers Island is grave and complex, and thus requires bold action from all levels of government to deliver change,” Hochul said. 

Detainees will be temporarily moved from Rikers to safer state facilities, Hochul said. More than 200 people will be transferred. They’ll be taken to two state-run facilities in Bedford Hills, Westchester County: the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility (Bedford) and the Taconic Correctional Facility (Taconic.)

A number of other Rikers inmates were already moved from the jail.

“These actions will further help ease staffing concerns, capacity constraints, and improve safety for several hundred detainees until such time that the City can identify and implement a permanent solution that will bring justice to the situation at Rikers,” the governor said.

Critics have called the decision rushed and ill-conceived. They say it will deprive inmates of services and move them farther from their families and other forms of support. The city says it will provide daily bus service for visitors.

Transfers will start the week of Oct. 18 and they’ll happen twice per week.

“Our reform efforts on Rikers Island have made encouraging progress, and our borough-based jails plans are moving forward and will fully transform this system – but there is no substitute for immediate support from our State partners at this critical moment in time,” de Blasio said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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