Opinion: A Bad Post-Rikers Jail Plan for New York • The New York Times

By Seth J. Prins, Ana Tergas, Scott Goldberg in Decarceral public health

October 1, 2019


October 1, 2019


12:00 AM

To the Editor:

Re “How to Close Rikers Island” (editorial, Oct. 14):

We are deeply troubled by your endorsement of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to build new jails in four of New York City’s boroughs, excluding Staten Island. Building new jails is not a rational or viable path toward de-incarceration or community health.

The research could not be clearer. Incarceration is inherently harmful to human health. There is simply no such thing as a therapeutic jail or a humane cage. The best empirical evidence suggests that incarceration does not prevent or deter future crime or arrests. There is a vast body of evidence for public health alternatives and social investments that actually work.

The mayor’s plan guarantees that incarceration will continue to be the expected outcome for people experiencing the daily problems of living without adequate material resources and public investments. From our perspective, this is unconscionable. There is no moral or empirical justification for it.

Seth J. Prins
Ana Tergas
Scott Goldberg
New York
Dr. Prins and Dr. Tergas are, respectively, an epidemiologist and an obstetrician-gynecologist at Columbia University. Dr. Goldberg is an attending physician at Montefiore.

Posted on:
October 1, 2019
1 minute read, 189 words
Decarceral public health
New York City Presidential Election of 2020 Rikers Island Prison Complex United States Politics and Government Youth
See Also:
City Jails Are Crowded Again, Stoking Covid Fears: `It's a Ticking Time Bomb' • The New York Times