Very few states charge 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, but New York is one of them. And now these much younger individuals are learning violence from those already proven to be proficient. A report shows that constitutional rights have been routinely violated on Rikers Island, with high violence levels showing that these youths are not safe and are unlikely to be released in better condition.
New York City lawmakers holding an oversight hearing Wednesday plan to ask correction officials about conditions for 16- and 17-year-old inmates on Rikers Island in the wake of a U.S. Justice Department review that found their constitutional rights were routinely violated.
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who chairs the committee on fire and criminal justice, said the questioning will center primarily on what’s being done to embrace the more than 80 recommendations made in the federal report released in August. Among them, the department recommended removing adolescents entirely off of Rikers, the city’s giant 10-facility jail complex on the 400-acre island near LaGuardia Airport.
“That report was really alarming and it depicted the levels of violence,” she said. “While we wait for the state to raise the age of criminality, we must make sure our inmates on Rikers Island are safe.”
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