Sep 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Hochul orders release of 191 Rikers Island inmates

New York Governor Kathy Hochul

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) ordered the release of 191 inmates from Rikers Island on Friday, and announced an agreement that could move up to 200 more to state prisons.

Why it matters: COVID has deepened a crisis at the prison, which had years of neglect and dysfunction prior to the pandemic.

  • Ten people have died at Rikers since December, the New York Times reported.

Of note: The governor signed a measure on Friday to update the current parole process in New York.

What they're saying: "[We’ll] be looking at other people who qualify around the state [but] this was just an immediate Rikers driven situation," Hochul said at a press conference on Friday.

  • "I am proud to take these steps to increase the safety in city jails, not only for those incarcerated, but for the staff who work tirelessly to keep operations running," Hochul added.
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