Event Videos Nov 09 2021

Expert Debate: How To Solve The Rikers Crisis

Everyone agrees: Rikers Island Jail is in crisis. Already this year, 12 inmates have died amid the squalid conditions. Daily, around 1,500 corrections officers call out sick and over half of officers are reportedly not Covid-vaccinated.

But what should be done?

Our distinguished panel represents varying views on the sources of the dysfunction and on more fundamental questions around the efficacy of incarceration. As former First Deputy Commissioner, Mark Cranston previously managed all aspects of the NYC Department of Corrections and argues that Rikers can be turned around through better management. Jim Quinn, former Executive District Attorney in the Queens DA’s office, sees danger in a multi-borough jail system that can only house about half the recent inmate population and to which local communities object. Architect William Bialosky has proposed a plan to redesign the complex on Rikers Island. Lastly, moderator and MI senior fellow Nicole Gelinas has argued the role of gross mismanagement is key in Rikers’s deterioration.