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Morning Spew

NYC Isn’t Even Pretending to Try to Get People Off Deadly Rikers Island

And more stories to start your steaming hot week.

A bird sits near an industrial crane in NYC's industrial waterfront.

(Hell Gate)

Last week, in a scathing report that strongly suggested that the federal government would be a better steward of New York City's deadly and chaotic jails system than the Adams administration, the federal monitor in charge of monitoring the jails urged public officials to get people out of detention on Rikers Island.

"Reducing the jail population is necessary to support the overall reform efforts because it would reduce the number of people exposed to the dangerous conditions in the facilities," the monitor wrote.

One mechanism for doing that is via the Local Conditional Release Commission, a municipal board that has the power to grant the release of people in City jails who are currently serving out sentences for nonviolent offenses—right now, that's about 400 people, representing roughly seven percent of the current population on Rikers, according to an analysis by the Vera Institute.

More than a year and a half into his first term, Mayor Eric Adams has yet to appoint all the members of the board, and they have not met once to nominate anyone for release, the Daily News reported on Monday. "More information coming soon!" the board's website says.

Getting people off Rikers is a matter of life and death. On Saturday, 47-year-old William Johnstone became the sixth person this year to die in City custody. Johnstone was awaiting trial when he was found unresponsive in his cell on Rikers Island that afternoon.

And the number of people locked up in jails on Rikers continues to swell. The Daily News reports that there were 6,154 people held in City jails as of July 12, an eight percent increase from last year. That number is also double the capacity of the borough-based jails that are supposed to be replacing the ones on Rikers Island by 2026. The Adams administration has a transition team set up to address the closure of Rikers, but guess what

Here are more stories to start your Monday:

  • Mayor Adams is expected to appoint acting NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban to the post full time.
  • Come for the details on the shady dismissal of the City's Campaign Finance Board executive, stay for the sad photo of the expensive "lounge" that was supposed to lure workers back into the office.
  • The City is opening massive shelters for asylum seekers in Queens, one near Aqueduct racetrack, another at a psychiatric facility.
  • Smoke's back!!! Good thing we've learned nothing.
  • "Just as there is no single form of poverty, there also is no distinct set of family patterns or life circumstances that leads to the choices these women made…But if they shared something, it was that they never fell off the grid or lived on the streets the way the TV procedural stereotype dictates. They all remained close to their families. They all came from towns with narrowing options and were seeking a way out."
  • Why is Rudy creeping around the home of the alleged Gilgo Beach killer?
  • Betteridge's Law: intact.
  • RIP, WCBS meteorologist Elise Finch.
  • Business advice: Instead of crying to New York Magazine about how your commercial real estate empire is crumbling, how about you receive a modest amount of rent from Hell Gate in exchange for some office space?
  • Some neighborly advice: If you spend your free time working on getting a colorful bench demolished, you need a new hobby.
  • Drake fans are already thirsty.
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