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NYC Jail Population Dips Below 4,000 for First Time Since 1946

Aerial photo of Rikers jail complex (NYCDOC)

April 21, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The inmate population in New York City jails has dropped below 4,000 for the first time since 1946, following the release of approximately 2,000 prisoners as a result of COVID-19.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and City officials have released inmates who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 complications — such as those who are older with have underlying conditions. Additionally, those with short sentences were let out.

“This dramatic reduction in the detainee population is a significant development which has allowed us to increase social distancing within our facilities as we deploy all available measures to fight the COVID-19 virus,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann. “We are doing all we can to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who works or lives in our jails.”

The Department of Corrections, district attorneys, public defenders and state parole officials have worked together to determine what prisoners were to be released.

The list included 300 inmates who were serving short sentences and more than 500 people held on Rikers Island for a technical parole violation like missing an appointment or failing a urine sample test. Another 600 people held pretrial were released back into their communities and hundreds more were released with judges’ approvals.

The jail population is also down because fewer people are being imprisoned amid the coronavirus pandemic. Just 600 people were put in jail from March 16 to today — compared to 3,300 people over the same period last year.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the city’s jail population had roughly halved since 2014 from 11,089 to 5,447 people.

“We have reached a historic milestone, and done so in a way that is both humanitarian and just,” de Blasio said. “When I took office, there were over 11,000 people in our jails; six years later we have a population of fewer than 4,000. This achievement is one part of the overall effort to create a system that is smaller, safer, and fairer for all.”

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15 Comments

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#wheresjimmy?

No, you are wrong! DeBlasio stated that if you don’t go to the Lunar New Year parades you are a “racist”. Try blaming him for something for a change as he goes on tv whining. Tell his WIFE to return the money she stole with her fake Thrive program.

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That is all completely false

He never said that.

Trump told millions across the nation to hold large maskless gatherings PROTESTING public health.

You made up something about a festival…and think they are exactly the same! How gullible.

Did you know there aren’t hashtags on this site? Kinda make you look dumb

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Fan of Dough Boy Park

My data is living in NYC and 2 working eyes. I saw a bum once? You don’t live here. It gets more obvious with every post you make under your 27 different names. Trump, Trump, Trump. Always Trump. Never the Democrats in this democratic controlled city. DeBlasio the one who told everyone to head down to the Chinese New Year Festivities. We didn’t go, why, because we knew better. If you live your life in accordance to whatever a politician says instead of doing your own research, you have only yourself to blame. Try thinking for yourself.

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Are you talking to someone?

Trump encouraged millions of Americans to hold large close-quarters gatherings without masks.

de Blasio required masks to be worn.

So you’ve got a point, Trump is killing millions across the nation while he tanks the economy, but de Blasio DID tell people to go to a festival once.

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Stephanie

Officials and advocates want the authorities to just open the gates and let everyone out!!! Lock your doors and windows people!!

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Val

Many went home to their elderly parents and are now applying for food, shelter and healthcare benefits. Either way the public is still paying for them.

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janet

We should let them all out in time for the elections through out the country. That population tends to vote Democratic and this will insure a bigger win for Biden.

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ex-felons hardly vote

About 3% of them vote at all. In majority-white areas they vote Republican.

Why are Trump lovers wrong so often?

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Chloe

They should turn Rikers into a big hospital or nursing home before the second wave in the winter. Staff should be tested daily at the front gate entrance before they begin their shift. I heard the island has some of the best views of the city which should help with patient morale. Just do not fly any planes over the island.

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El loco

Now, then they will commit crimes again and their advocates will get them out again!

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Fan of Dough Boy Park

A person constantly surrounded by at least 6 armed body guards, who drives in motorcades, who had his flunkies stop a subway train one stop ahead of his stop to remove all the homeless people before he boards, really shouldn’t be patting himself on the bad for releasing criminals onto the street. Port Authority looks like a homeless shelter, 9th ave is turning back into a 16 block drug den, Penn Station is a scene from GTA. Is everyone enjoying getting asked for money once every 3 blocks now? Instead of telling criminals how they’re the victims , how about a publishing a solid plan about how he’s gonna help restore NYC’s economy, besides his alternating groveling and blaming Trump. He’s been pissing on Trumps shoes for years and now expects him to save us. What DeBlasios plan? Other then blame everyone else, as per his standard.

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That is all completely false

“I saw a bum once” isn’t a statistic. If you have any data that prevents us from being sure you’re completely wrong, feel free to share.

Maybe if Trump had acted on the info he had in January and wasn’t encouraging millions of Americans to break quarantine, the outbreak would be more contained, and we wouldn’t need to release prisoners…

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