Rafael Mangual and Seth Barron discuss plans to close the jail complex on Rikers Island, home to the vast majority of New York City's inmate population, including some of the city’s worst offenders.
Violence on Rikers has spiked in recent years, despite a marked decline in the city's inmate population. Last year, approximately 9,000 people were held on the island on an average day. According to the city’s own reporting, a larger share of inmates in Rikers are now "more violent and difficult to manage."
The city is committed to closing Rikers and moving all inmates to county-based jails. Both critics and supporters of the plan agree that facilities on the island are outdated and dangerous--for prisoners and guards alike.
Rafael Mangual is the deputy director for legal policy at the Manhattan Institute.