Mayor De Blasio announced a 10 year plan to close the notoriously violent New York prison facility Rikers Island on Friday afternoon. The decision comes after a year of aggressive crusading to shut down the prison from the #CLOSErikers campaign, which was founded by activist and former Rikers prisoner Glenn E. Martin.
In a statement sent to The Huffington Post, Martin said that he’s “grateful” the mayor has realized that the only solution to the prison’s problematic nature is to close it.
“For too long, New Yorkers – especially poor people of color – have languished in this grist mill, where human rights abuses are routine,” Martin said. “Countless failed attempts at incremental reform have proven that the only viable solution is to close Rikers.”
The campaign, which Martin founded in 2016, has done everything from follow the mayor to Florida to ensure he hears their concerns surrounding the prison to create a commercial calling the mayor out on his inaction around Rikers.
Martin, who was imprisoned at Rikers twice and currently has a brother in the prison, said the mayor’s announcement was “especially meaningful” to him.
“Mayor de Blasio has finally heard the demands of the #CLOSErikers campaign, and we thank him for recognizing that the problem with Rikers is Rikers,” he continued.
Martin is also a member of the Lippman Commission which, in a 97 page report provided to the mayor, outlined ways to successfully go about closure of the prison.
Aside from his intent to close the island and open other jails in its place, the mayor’s full plan has not yet been released. But is expected to include some of the suggestions from the commission’s report.
You can read more about the mayor’s announcement here.