Hochul, de Blasio Heartlessly Send Rikers Inmates To Upstate Prisons

transfer of women and transgender people from Rikers Island to Westchester County state prisons
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The following is a Wednesday statement from the People’s Coalition for Manhattan DA Accountability on the transfer of women and transgender people from Rikers Island to Westchester County state prisons:

"Yesterday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that they would transfer all women and transgender people from Rikers Island to Bedford Hills and Taconic - state prison facilities located 40 miles outside of the city.

"In short, this move is a clear abdication of our state and city’s responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of hundreds of New Yorkers.

"Jails and prisons should never serve as our solution, stopgap or otherwise, to the lack of the health and wellness services provided by our government.

"As elected officials with tremendous power, District Attorneys should consent to the release of incarcerated New Yorkers currently held in New York City jails, including the women and transgender people appointed for this transfer. They should also immediately stop requesting monetary bail that exposes individuls to conditions that are internationally recognized as torture. Each and every woman and transgender person held at Rikers Island should be released on their own recognizance so they can fight their cases from home.

"Critically, transferring people upstate will cause them to be separated from their families and lose meaningful access to their lawyers and services. As such, it again reinforces the two-tiered system that persists for people who can not afford to post bail. We know that people incarcerated pretrial are more likely to plead guilty and removing access to support systems and lawyers will only exacerbate this injustice.

"Let’s be clear: We reject the false choice presented by Governor Hochul and Mayor de Blasio between caging people downstate at Rikers and caging people upstate in state prison. Pretrial freedom for everyone must be the goal."

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