Mayor Eric Adams signs Executive Order 16, creating an interagency task force that formalizes the whole-of-government approach the Adams administration has already been applying to the crisis plaguing Rikers Island.
With the full support of City Hall, the task force will coordinate and implement the multi-agency solutions needed to support the New York City Department of Correction (DOC), surge resources where needed, and provide Adams with real-time information regarding the city’s efforts.
“Rikers Island has been mired in dysfunction and plagued by parallel crises for decades. We cannot — and will not — allow that to continue,” said Adams. “Since taking office, and working with the monitoring team, we have seen reductions in use of force and assaults on staff, increased searches for weapons and contraband, and fewer officers out on sick leave, but we must go further.”
The goal is clear: to implement the recommended reforms as swiftly and efficiently as possible to keep those in custody and correctional officers safe, and to build a functional, safe, and humane jail system. The task force will be chaired by Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phillip Banks.
“Dysfunctional government and agencies operating within silos is an unacceptable excuse for the dangerous conditions that have persisted on Rikers for years,” said Banks. “This task force, bolstered by the full backing of City Hall, will enhance communications among agencies that have historically hindered past attempts at progress. We will reform Rikers, we will build safer jails, and, together, we will build a safer city for all New Yorkers.”
In addition to the co-chairs, the task force will include representatives from the DOC, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the New York City Law Department, the New York City Office of Labor Relations, the New York City Office of Management and Budget, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and the New York City Department of Design and Construction. Additional agencies will be added as needed.
“This vital support from City Hall finally gives this agency the help it needs to bring safety and security to our jail system and fulfill the requirements of the consent judgment in both spirit and letter,” said DOC Commissioner Louis A. Molina. “I am looking forward to working with the dedicated and talented partners at our sister agencies. Together, we are going to transform our jail system into model of safety and humanity.”