Women and Trans Inmates to Be Transferred Out of Rikers


Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor de Blasio announced Wednesday that more than 200 women and transgender detainees at Rikers Island will be transferred to state-run facilities as officials continue to grapple with a crisis there that has left several inmates dead.

The inmates will be transferred to two correctional facilities in Westchester County, where those receiving hormone replacement therapy will continue their treatment, according to the governor’s office. The state’s Department of Corrections will provide daily transportation to inmates’ families from New York City to the new facilities starting next Friday. “These actions will further help ease staffing concerns, capacity constraints, and improve safety for several hundred detainees until such time that the City can identify and implement a permanent solution that will bring justice to the situation at Rikers,” Hochul said in a statement.

The Legal Aid Society, which provides legal services to low-income individuals and families, is raising concerns about the transfer plans. Tina Luongo, the Legal Aid Society attorney in charge of criminal defense, says the move will disrupt the women’s access to “due process, their children, families, and support networks” and that transgender and non-binary detainees won’t have access to the care that they need. “This move is rushed, ill-conceived, and will surely inflict further trauma on our clients. We again demand decarceration and are considering litigation should Governor Hochul and Mayor de Blasio proceed with these transfers,” Luongo said.

Nearly a month ago, Hochul signed the Less Is More Act into law, which is intended to stop the state from locking individuals up for minor parole violations. At that time, she announced the release of 191 inmates from Rikers and said the state would work to transfer more detainees from Rikers to state-run facilities.



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