Mayor Adams Announces Progress To Improve Care And Services For People In Custody, Advances Plans For Future Uses Of Rikers Island


Adams Administration Announces $14 Million for Enhanced Programming Initiatives to Support People in Custody as They Return to Their Communities

Our Bureau
New York, NY

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced progress on several jails-focused initiatives to provide greater care and enhanced programming for people in custody and released two feasibility studies on potential sustainability uses of Rikers Island. The city will invest $14 million to enhance programming initiatives for people in custody. Mayor Adams also directed NYC Health + Hospitals to move forward with construction of more than 350 outposted therapeutic housing beds that will increase access to specialty health care services for people in custody while moving those who are most clinically vulnerable off of Rikers. Additionally, the administration announced the completion of the Feasibility Study for a New Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility on Rikers Island and the Renewable Rikers Feasibility Study Report, required under local law, that assess the potential building of renewable energy infrastructure on Rikers Island.

“Ensuring dignity, safety, and care of all justice-involved New Yorkers is a top priority for our administration and today’s announcement will provide greater access to specialized medical care for people in our custody, as well as delivering much-needed resources to support those who are preparing to return to their communities,” said Mayor Adams. “While our commitment to the success of our jails is unwavering, we are also planning for the future of Rikers by releasing these studies that assess the feasibility of bringing renewable energy infrastructure to the Island.”

“As we implement plans to house incarcerated New Yorkers with greater dignity and care, we must also envision a future for Rikers Island — one that supports New York’s significant energy and sustainability needs,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “This is an opportunity not only to reimagine a better criminal justice landscape in this city but a better environmental justice landscape too.”

“The investments announced today show the administration’s commitment to support the whole person through difficult life transitions and thereby strengthening our communities overall,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “As New Yorkers engage with and transition from the justice system, they will receive support ranging from workforce development, transportation, community connections, educational opportunities, housing assistance, and health care, among others. Additionally, we will open hundreds of beds in outposted housing units that will serve those with specialized clinical needs. Thank you to all involved in this multi-agency effort to walk with people as they build productive, fulfilling lives.”

“Programs providing education, health and wellness, and transitional services are essential for improving the safety of our jails and creating better outcomes for those in our care and custody,” said New York City Department of Correction (DOC) Commissioner Lynelle Maginley-Liddie. “Investments in programming can lead to reductions in violence, lower rates of recidivism, and pathways to higher education and employment.”

The Adams administration is also moving forward with construction of outposted therapeutic housing units at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull and North Central Bronx as part of its commitment to increasing access to specialty care services for people in custody while moving the most clinically vulnerable people off of Rikers. The units will house patients who have serious medical, mental health, and substance-use needs and would benefit from a more structured, clinical environment. DOC will provide security and custody management in the units, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services (CHS) will continue to be the primary provider of care, in closer coordination with hospital specialists.

Construction is already underway at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, the first of the three units, with anticipated completion by spring 2025. Construction of the units at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull and North Central Bronx will be completed in summer 2027, assuming timely completion of design and barring significant unforeseen field conditions. Construction of all units is fully funded, with a total capital investment of $718 million, and will comprise approximately 360 beds, depending on final designs. All three hospitals will benefit from an infusion of funds to renovate and repurpose hospital space to create the outposted therapeutic housing units. NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull recently relocated and renovated its inpatient pediatrics unit, and upgraded other clinical and administrative spaces, to prepare for the construction of the outposted unit.

“‘Renewable Rikers’ was born out of the idea that the future of Rikers Island can contribute to a sustainable and resilient New York City and provide benefits to New Yorkers who have been most impacted by our criminal justice system,” said MOCEJ Executive Director Elijah Hutchinson. “Our research found Rikers Island has the potential to be a home for solar installations, battery storage systems, and offshore wind interconnection infrastructure, helping New York City reach its world-leading, ambitious climate goals. We look forward to working with the Rikers Island Advisory Committee and stakeholders, who first put forward the vision of a renewable Rikers.”

“The Outposted Therapeutic Housing Units are an innovative approach to carceral health care, and we are thrilled to advance this groundbreaking model,” said Dr. Patsy Yang, senior vice president for correctional health services, NYC Health + Hospitals. “The initiative is also a testament to the strength and commitment of the NYC Health + Hospitals system in caring for all New Yorkers, particularly the most vulnerable.”

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