New York transferring nearly all women, trans individuals from Rikers Island jail complex

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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that nearly all women- and trans-identified individuals currently incarcerated on Rikers Island will be transferred out of the troubled jail.

The inmates will move to two state-run facilities in Bedford Hills, Westchester County — the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and the Taconic Correctional Facility, both operated by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

The agreement to temporarily transfer approximately 230 individuals into state settings builds on Hochul’s recent signature of the Less is More Act, which she says will prevent unnecessary detentions at Rikers, as well as the Governor’s Executive Order that expanded remote hearings for detainees with the aim of reducing the amount of time detainees must spend at Rikers.

“The situation on Rikers Island is grave and complex and thus requires bold action from all levels of government to deliver change,” Hochul said. “I am especially heartened that the state is able to assist some of the most vulnerable populations on Rikers, and today, I am proud to announce the state’s agreement with the city to temporarily move the majority of these populations off Rikers and into safer state facilities.”

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According to the plan, which is authorized under Section 504 of New York State Correction Law, the New York City Department of Corrections will begin to transfer incarcerated individuals to the two facilities starting the week of October 18.

The transfers will occur twice per week, starting with 10 to 20 individuals being transferred during each transfer.

No current detainees with any pending immigration-related matters will be transferred.

“New York City is committed to forging a fairer, more humane justice system,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “I’m proud to work with Governor Hochul on this initiative, which will provide important relief for the situation on Rikers. Our reform efforts on Rikers Island have made encouraging progress, and our borough-based jails plans are moving forward and will fully transform this system – but there is no substitute for immediate support from our State partners at this critical moment in time.”

All the transferees will receive the same services provided to all individuals currently incarcerated at Bedford and Taconic, and the transferees will be integrated into the existing populations at both facilities, with the exception of those who are currently housed in the Special Consideration Unit at Rikers.

Upon arrival at either facility, each detainee will undergo various assessments, including for medical and mental health, as well as academic, vocational, and substance use-related needs.

Once each individual’s needs are identified, they will see the facility’s Program Committee for a program or work assignment.

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DOC will provide daily transportation from New York City to the facilities for family members and loved ones of detainees, beginning Friday, October 22.

There will be one pick-up location each in The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Buses will pick up visitors from each location twice a day.

DOC will announce additional details on its website regarding exact locations and times in the coming week.

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