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Federal Judge Grants More Time For NYC's Revised Rikers Island Plan

A federal judge refrained from stripping control of New York City's Rikers Island jail complex from local officials, instead ordering the city to revise its plan for addressing violence and disorder at the compound, the New York Times reports. Judge Laura Swain, made the decision at a hearing on Tuesday after listening to arguments from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan and others who had raised the possibility of appointing an independent official to run New York City's jails, something that has never happened. Last month, Swain gave the Department of Correction three weeks to come up with a plan to remedy the crisis. As jail officials were formulating their plan, two detainees died, the city was held in contempt in state court over its failure to provide timely medical care, and questions emerged about whether the jail system properly documented a serious head injury suffered by a detainee in April.


During the hearing, a federal prosecutor reviewed the department's failures before concluding that "extraordinary remedies" would likely be necessary to change conditions at Rikers. He said that those remedies could include executive orders from Mayor Eric Adams or Gov. Kathy Hochul, judicial orders allowing officials to waive certain restrictions or the possibility of a full or partial federal takeover, known as receivership. Correction commissioner Louis Molina, said those options were unnecessary and that the city's plan would be sufficient. "Change must come from within," Molina said. Swain instructed the city to submit its revised plan by June 10.

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