John Legend Backs NYC Mayor in Rikers Island Closing
The notorious Rikers Island is under the spotlight and one musician wants the facility to be closed forever. John Legend has stated he is backing New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s attempt to city's jail and believes more should be done to reform America’s justice system to ensure fewer people go to jail.
The prison has housed many of New York City's criminals since 1932, but harsh conditions in the jail and inmate deaths in recent years, have led discussions of its future.
In the U.S., those who are accused of a crime remain incarcerated if they cannot afford a bail bond, in most states.
“Rikers exists in large part because of that population of people that cannot afford bail,” Legend said via allhiphop.com. “When we talk about reducing our population in these jails and making it easier to close Rikers, the biggest hurdle is making sure that no one’s locked up because they’re too poor to pay $1,000 ... If your only difference is that you’re poorer, that should not be the reason why you’re locked up."
New York state governor Andrew Cuomo has also backed closing Rikers Island prison. According to a report by the New York Times, city officials plan to move its inmates to smaller, more modern facilities when Rikers finally close its doors.