NYPost reports it is “unconscionable” that Rikers Island inmates who were released due to coronavirus concerns are committing new crimes, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
“I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done,” the mayor said during his morning briefing Monday, which came on the heels of a Post report outlining the issue.
De Blasio said the number of re-offenders remains relatively small and that the city was “buckling down” on monitoring and supervising released prisoners.
“We do see some recidivism. I have not seen a huge amount, but any amount is obviously troubling,” he said.
“We’re going to just keep buckling down on it, making sure there’s close monitoring and supervision to the maximum step possible. And the NYPD is going to keep doing what they’re doing.”
More than 1,400 city inmates have been granted early releases due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus inside jailhouses, Hizzoner said.
The Post reported Sunday that at least 50 of the newly released Rikers Island prisoners were rearrested for new crimes in recent weeks — and in some cases were cut loose again.
The Legal Aid Society, Bronx Defenders and other legal defense groups have been petitioning courts since the outbreak of the deadly global pandemic, arguing that inmates, particularly those who are older or have medical conditions, are more vulnerable to the deadly bug within the confines of city jails.
The releases have helped drop the inmate population at Rikers Island under 4,000 for the first time since the World War II era, city officials said.
City officials said last week more than 300 inmates and 500 correction department employees have tested positive for COVID-19, with at least two inmates killed by the virus.