New York City’s plan to close Rikers Island has hit a snag: New York State’s parole system, which sends more people back to prison for petty parole violations than nearly every other state in the country.The plan to close the infamous jail hinges on reducing its population to under 5,000 people, a number that could fit into four new jails to be built near courthouses in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. Since Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the move two years ago, the city has made steady progress, slashing Rikers’ average daily population from 9,400 to around 7,000.
But the number of people jailed on Rikers for violating the terms of their New York State parole is going up, according to the Mayor’s Office.
Many of these are technical violators, not jailed for new crimes but for allegedly violating parole supervision rules, such as staying out past curfew, missing an appointment, absconding, smoking marijuana and even informal rules that parole officers sometimes just make up.
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