Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Amid a Growing Movement to Close Rikers, One Prisoner Approaches Six Years Without Trial

In October 2010, Anna’s son Jairo Pastoressa was arrested for stabbing and killing a young man during a dispute. He was charged with murder and denied bail and has been sitting in jail for 67 months, waiting for a trial that keeps being postponed. Eighty-five percent of Rikers’s nearly 10,000 detainees have not yet been tried. Although many are released within a week, some remain in the jail for years as their cases drag through New York’s chronically slow court system. As of March 2016, 75 percent of Rikers detainees had been awaiting trial for less than a year, but there were 109 whose cases had been pending for more than three years and another 209 who had been waiting for more than two years, according to a spokesperson with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. Jairo believes he is the longest-serving detainee currently on the island. “This system keeps those that have been accused of committing crimes out of sight and out of mind,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in her 2016 State of the City address, in which she announced an independent commission to review whether the population at Rikers can be reduced enough to make its closure possible. “Rikers Island has come to represent our worst tendencies and our biggest failures.”

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/01/amid-a-growing-movement-to-close-rikers-one-prisoner-approaches-six-years-without-trial/

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