Criminal justice reform advocate Glenn Martin says we must close Rikers Island ASAP.
“When we said we would convince the mayor to close Rikers, people said: ‘Never,’” Martin recalls. So when de Blasio announced that the idea of shutting down the so-called ‘Torture Island’ was found feasible and that it would be implemented in the next decade he and other activists celebrated a small victory.
“The victory was to just get the public shift on closing Rikers. It was a good first step. That’s all we have now,” said Martin, who launched the #CLOSErikers campaign. “But if this mayor thinks making this announcement will make us back off, he’s wrong. This announcement does not mean another decade of black and brown bodies suffering on Rikers.”
Later they understood that a decade-long delay puts too much at stake in terms of inmates’ lives. “Closing Rikers is hardly about shuttering one facility. People should see the Rikers announcement as the ability to think more boldly about mass incarceration,” Martin said.
“How many Kalief Browder’s could there be in 10 years,” he asked.