Chair Maloney, Chair Raskin, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Demand Transparency into Federal Investigation of Deteriorating Conditions at Rikers Island

Dec 22, 2022
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 22, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sent a letter to Deanna Logan, Director for New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, requesting information and documents from the federal monitor’s review of conditions at Rikers Island.  The letter follows public reporting that data regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis at Rikers will not be made public in a timely manner due to an agreement between the Rikers federal monitor team and the New York City Law Department.


“By shielding highly relevant information from public view about violence, mismanagement, chronic staffing issues, security lapses, and other factors contributing to unsafe and inhumane conditions at Rikers, the agreement will deprive stakeholders of valuable and timely information about the true state of affairs at Rikers, thwarting public accountability and efforts to correct urgent problems and prevent more unnecessary deaths.  We request the immediate production of this information to the Committee,” the Members wrote.


More than a decade ago, horrific abuse by correctional officers at Rikers spurred public outcry and a class-action lawsuit, which resulted in a 2015 consent decree that placed the jail under federal monitorship.  The court-appointed monitor, Steve Martin, has since filed scathing reports that have provided much-needed transparency into the untenable conditions at the jail complex and highlighted the urgent need for additional action by the New York City Department of Corrections.


In their letter, the Members urged the City to publish a forthcoming “confidential report” by the federal monitor and provide underlying data to the Committee in light of recent press reports detailing efforts to manipulate official death counts at Rikers.


“Despite reassurances that the City is working to improve conditions at Rikers, more than a year later those improvements have not materialized.  Nineteen people have died in City custody or shortly after release this year—the most since 2013, when the jail population was twice as high as it is today,” wrote the Members.




On September 27, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney, Chairman Raskin, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez launched an investigation into deteriorating conditions at Rikers Island.


On November 22, 2021, the Members wrote to the five New York City District Attorneys requesting briefings on prosecutors’ use of excessive bail in the New York City court system.


On April 8, 2022, the Members wrote to Mayor Adams to urge him to support the needs of the detainees at Rikers Island experiencing mental illness and ensure they are able to access the treatment services they need.


On June 27, 2022, the Members wrote to the Rikers Task Force requesting a briefing from them on the conditions at Rikers Island.


Click here to read today’s letter.

117th Congress