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Adams unveils $14m initiative for holistic jail reform, renewable energy exploration on Rikers Island

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New York City, March 6, 2024 – Mayor Eric Adams showcased a multi-pronged approach today towards transforming the criminal justice system in New York City. The administration revealed a $14 million investment to enhance programming for individuals in custody, alongside plans to construct outposted therapeutic housing units and feasibility studies exploring Rikers Island’s potential as a hub for renewable energy infrastructure.

The $14 million initiative focuses on bolstering support and care for people in custody through a variety of programs. Trauma-informed programming, transition planning, substance misuse support, supplemental education, and transportation services aim to create a comprehensive system addressing the complex needs of those transitioning out of the justice system.

Mayor Adams expressed his commitment, stating, “Ensuring dignity, safety, and care of all justice-involved New Yorkers is a top priority for our administration.” This initiative aligns with the city’s determination to provide a robust support system for individuals navigating the challenging path of reintegration into their communities.

Furthermore, NYC Health + Hospitals will construct over 350 outposted therapeutic housing beds to accommodate individuals with serious medical, mental health, and substance-use needs. This move is part of the administration’s strategy to improve access to specialty care services for people in custody while prioritizing those most clinically vulnerable.

In a forward-thinking move, the administration released two feasibility studies on Rikers Island’s future. The “Feasibility Study for a New Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility on Rikers Island” and the “Renewable Rikers Feasibility Study Report” explore the potential for a state-of-the-art wastewater facility and the integration of renewable energy infrastructure on the island.

Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi emphasized the opportunity to envision a future for Rikers Island that addresses both criminal justice and environmental justice concerns. “This is an opportunity not only to reimagine a better criminal justice landscape in this city but a better environmental justice landscape too,” she stated.

These studies align with the city’s commitment to sustainability and present a transformative vision for Rikers Island. Chief Climate Officer and DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala stated, “The DEP and MOCEJ studies present options that would turn Rikers Island into a center of state-of-the-art green technologies.”

As New York City continues to innovate in its approach to criminal justice reform, these initiatives mark significant steps toward a more holistic and sustainable future for the city’s incarcerated population and the broader community.

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