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Judge nixes Legal Aid Society’s bid to have feds take over Rikers Island

A Manhattan federal judge dealt a blow to advocates for Rikers Island prisoners on Thursday, barring the Legal Aid Society from requesting a federal takeover of the Big Apple’s troubled jail system.

Judge Laura Taylor shot down a request from the city’s largest legal aid nonprofit that it be allowed to formally lobby for the appointment of a “receiver” — or third-party administrator — to oversee Rikers Island and other city Department of Correction facilities.

While Swain said she remains deeply concerned about safety issues at Rikers, the promise of a receiver could divert resources away from keeping inmates safe and could be counter productive, she noted.

Allowing Legal Aid to argue for the receivership would be “premature and inconsistent with the legal restraints,” the judge added at the end of the lengthy hearing on Thursday.

The Legal Aid Society was hoping to lobby for a third-party to step in and oversee the Department of Corrections.
A federal judge axed the Legal Aid Society’s petition for the feds to manage Rikers.
AFP via Getty Images

Legal Aid attorney Mary Lynne Werl was had pleaded with Swain to consider the group’s argument for a receiver, arguing that seven years had passed since a federal monitor was appointed to institute reforms at the jail.

“Continuing down the same path cannot and will not bring relief to the plaintiff class,” Werlwas, who represents prisoners at the jail complex, told the judge.

The attorney cited a litany of concerns, including use of force by staff, chronic absenteeism and the inability of guards to stop inmate suicides.

There has been a sharp uptick in Rikers <a href=inmate suicides in 2022. ” class=”wp-image-24700569″ srcset=” 1536w, 1024w, 512w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/
The attorney cited use of force by staff, chronic absenteeism and the inability of guards to stop inmate suicides.
Corbis via Getty Images

The crisis in the city jails — where 18 people have died this year — has persisted throughout a

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