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Almost 200 Rikers Island Inmates Could be Released Due to Staffing Shortage

NEW YORK, NY – The New York Post [1] has learned that due to a staffing shortage on Rikers Island, around 180 inmates are looking at early release.

This would be the second wave of early release convicts, as the facility let 300 people out early last year due to COVID-19 concerns, bringing the total of sprung-early inmates [2] in NYC to 1,500.

The jail population has spiked to July’s 5,730, thanks to a hefty rise in violent crime. Mayor Bill de Blasio has received much criticism [3] for the mishandling of staffing issues on Rikers in the last couple of years.

A source told the NY Post that de Blasio wants to close Rikers Island and will use any excuse to get it done. “He is leaving in three-plus months,” the source said, “and he wants to release as many prisoners as he can.”

Another source said that de Blasio is attempting to keep the names of those being considered for release under wraps for now because he “doesn’t want the pushback that he got last time [6] when he released dangerous felons.”

Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association president Benny Boscio Jr. issued a statement, saying, “In yet the latest sign that Mayor de Blasio has completely lost his grip on reality, rather than hiring the necessary number of Correction Officers to maintain safety and security in our jails and keep New York City safe, he’s decided to release drug dealers, armed robbers, and other hardened criminals with no concern for public safety.

“Would someone please remind the Mayor that 70% of our inmates are recidivists and will most likely return to our custody by Christmas? New Yorkers should demand that the Mayor release these criminals on the steps of Gracie Mansion instead of their doorsteps!

“Correction Officers always knew he didn’t care if his policies resulted in one of us getting killed. Now it’s obvious that he doesn’t care if your family members get killed. This will do nothing to solve our staffing crisis and it will only jeopardize the lives of every single New Yorker!”

So far there has not been a timeline issued for these releases.

This piece was written by Leah Anaya on September 7, 2021. It originally appeared in ThinBlueLineTV.com [7] and is used by permission.