Rikers Island: Officially Considering ReceivershipNovember 21, 2023
Manhattan Federal Judge Laura Taylor Swain directed the Legal Aid Society to file a motion and proposed order for placing the entirety of the city’s Department of Correction under federal receivership. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams fully supports this move, making it clear that the offshore human rights catastrophe of Rikers Island has long-standing and extensively documented crises. The levels of use of force by staff, as well as slashings and fights among detainees, are higher than when the situation was declared unconstitutional. The DOC’s management has failed to impose accountability for misconduct, rein in staff practices, or ensure that officers are consistently doing their jobs. This lack of seriousness has led to other problems within the DOC, and the leadership has failed to take responsibility and make necessary changes. While a receivership may not be an ideal solution, it is clear that without external intervention, the DOC will continue to develop and abandon plans and initiatives without making any real progress.