CPC Statement on Close Rikers and No New Jails | Chinese-American Planning Council
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CPC Statement on Close Rikers and No New Jails



Date: 10/17/19

Press Contacts: Carlyn Cowen, Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer (ccowen@cpc-nyc.org)


New York, NY -- The Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) continues to stand opposed to the expansion of the current Manhattan Detention Center (MDC), and we call for no new jails to be constructed in New York City. The proposed plans to close Rikers Island and construct borough-based jails do not address the needs of our communities and the lives of our community members, do not consider recommendations from criminal justice reform advocates and activists, and leave out recommendations from community-based organizations on community needs. 

As the largest Asian American social service organization in the U.S., CPC provides vital resources to more than 60,000 people per year. Two of our program sites would be directly impacted by the proposed jail site at MDC, including our CPC Chung Pak Daycare, which provides daily early childhood education to over 60 children, and our CPC Chinatown Senior Citizen Center, which provides daily senior activities including exercise, dance, meals, educational classes, social and field trips, and case management to over 200 older adults. 

While CPC affirms that Rikers Island must close immediately and supports policies that will expedite the release of those currently held at Rikers, we also believe it is a false choice to say that new jails must be constructed in order to accomplish this. 

"Rather than investing $11 billion to continue to incarcerate New Yorkers, New York City should invest that money in our communities, and the resources and services they need," said Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. 

New Yorkers who are arrested disproportionately come from communities of color, low-income, immigrant, homeless, or non-Native English speaking communities, and are the target of over-policing. The City's incarceration policies represent an additional threat to immigrant communities, who face increased risk of deportation when they interact with the criminal justice system. To reduce the city jail population, the City should support policies that reduce incarceration like eliminating cash bail, and minimize factors that contribute to the arrest and over-incarceration of these communities by investing in more housing, education, financial literacy, health and mental health resources, and social support services. These same services are critical for the communities that surround the proposed sites, and these critical community investments are absent from the proposed plans.

Investments should be made in families whose lives have been destroyed by arrest, over-incarceration, poverty, discrimination, and deportation, have been harmed by Rikers, and will be impacted by the establishment of borough based jails.