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‘Mr. Mayor, Treat the Tumor on Rikers Island as Your First Priority’

To the Editor:

Re “Behind Violence at Rikers, a Broken Institution” (front page, Jan. 1):

There is a pulsing tumor in our beloved city that Mayor Eric Adams needs to address to keep his promises about government accountability and crime prevention. That tumor is Rikers Island.

It is a management failure costing more than $400,000 per incarcerated person per year. Rikers is not safe because guard shifts go uncovered. A “Lord of the Flies” situation is created in which people are forced to become predator or prey. Spillover of violence into the streets is inevitable if Rikers continues to be a breeding ground for violence.

There are good and heroic people working on Rikers who need to be kept safe. Incarcerated people need to be able to rely on officers to protect them.

To resolve this situation requires a strong mayoral hand with an intolerance for uncovered shifts and abandonment of duty. It cannot be leveraged by any commissioner, no matter how good, without a firm mayoral commitment.

Mr. Mayor, treat the tumor on Rikers Island as your first priority.

JoAnne Page
The writer is president and chief executive of the Fortune Society.

Read more at New York TImes Back

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