Dromm statement on the NYC Council's Vote to Close the Rikers Island Jail Complex
"When I became the first elected official to call for the closure of Rikers nine years ago, it was a lonely road," said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). "Undeterred, I joined with the tireless advocates, including many survivors, and all of us owe a debt of gratitude to them for helping us reach this point today. Let the closure of Rikers only strengthen our resolve to transform the entire system for the benefit of all involved, including those who work for the Department and the general public. Most important are the individuals who, in steadily decreasing numbers, will be held in modern facilities focused on preparing them for reentry. Sadly, it is too late for Kalief Browder, the child who was tortured to the point of suicide after his release; Layleen Polanco Extravaganza, the transgender woman who died in solitary confinement; Jerome Murdough, who baked to death in his cell; Rolando Perez, Jr., who was denied medication and left for dead after a seizure; Jason Echevarria, who was ignored after eating a packet of powdered detergent that was given to detainees to clean out their sewage-flooded cells; Ronald Spear, who begged to see a doctor but was refused and instead beaten to death by an angry correction officer; My dear friend, who survived Rikers but is dealing with a lifetime of trauma; A nd the countless New Yorkers who have known firsthand the brutality of Rikers. To them, I dedicate my vote."