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He Was Homeless, So the Judge Kept Him at Rikers

How a lack of stable housing, combined with bureaucratic hurdles in New York’s labyrinthine re-entry process, kept one man at Rikers during the height of its crisis.

Sam Mellins   ·   January 3, 2022
Women Sent from Rikers to Maximum-Security Prison: ‘They Treat Us Like State Property’

Governor Hochul and Mayor de Blasio’s quixotic plan to relocate women from Rikers Island to the Bedford Hills state prison has prompted fierce opposition from women who insist they do not want to go.

Tana Ganeva   ·   December 9, 2021
State Senators Ask Gov. Hochul to Commute Sentence of Man Who Spent Over 800 Days in Rikers

Reginald Randolph is currently serving a two to four year sentence in state prison for stealing cold medicine.

Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg   ·   December 4, 2021
“The Worst Prison in New York State”

The situation at Rikers is bad, but at Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a maximum security facility more than 200 miles north of New York City, it’s worse.

Victoria Law   ·   November 10, 2021
A Year After Reforms were Promised, People Leaving New York Jails and Prisons Still Lack IDs

Reentering society without ID makes jobs and apartments almost impossible to get. Still, many people leaving prison lack the essential paperwork.

Sam Mellins   ·   November 4, 2021
Homeless Man Spent Over 800 Days in Rikers After Stealing Cold Medicine from Duane Reade

Blind in one eye and at risk of losing vision in the other, 58-year-old Reginald Randolph has spent much of the past three years in jail. Now he’s on the verge of being sent to state prison for four more years.

Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg   ·   November 2, 2021
Charges Filed Against Andrew Cuomo for Forcible Touching

The Albany Criminal Court issued a criminal summons charging Cuomo with a Class A misdemeanor.

Akash Mehta   ·   October 28, 2021
Disabled and Abandoned in New York’s Prisons

Incarcerated people with disabilities detail a labyrinth of humiliations in prison.

Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg   ·   October 25, 2021
Illegal Evictions Are Rising Across The State, But Landlords Rarely Face Consequences

There’s a growing trend of landlords changing locks and shutting off utilities to get tenants out without going to court, tenant organizers say.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   October 21, 2021
Legislators Push to Make Phone Calls in New York’s Jails and Prisons Free

Incarcerated New Yorkers pay some of the steepest rates for phone calls in the country, as high as $9.95 for a single 15-minute call.

Rachel M. Cohen   ·   October 14, 2021
Prison Agency Resisting Oversight, Say Lawmakers and Watchdogs

A dispute between the prison agency and the independent prison monitoring organization has left lawyers and advocates wondering whether Gov. Hochul’s commitment to transparency will extend to state prisons.

Daniel Moritz-Rabson   ·   October 12, 2021
Death at Rikers: How NYC Judges Fueled the Swelling Jail Population

An analysis by New York Focus and Gothamist/WNYC reveals the judges who set bail most frequently, driving up the jail population as it entered crisis.

George Joseph and Akash Mehta   ·   September 27, 2021
As Rikers Crisis Persists, Prosecutors Continue to Request High Bail

“We only ask, and the court sets the bail,” the president of the state prosecutors’ association said.

Sam Mellins   ·   September 24, 2021
He Says He Was Wrongfully Convicted. His Trial Prosecutor Led The Unit That Rejected His Petition.

Anthony Sims’ case shows the conflict of interest inherent in Conviction Review Units led by former prosecutors, critics say.

Ethan Corey and Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg   ·   September 23, 2021
How New York Lets Prosecutors Off The Hook for Misconduct

Not a single prosecutor appeared to have been disciplined for on-the-job misconduct in 2019. Even the state prosecutors association supports reforms.

Rory Fleming   ·   September 1, 2021
Rikers Staffing Crisis Limits Access to Medical Care

With thousands of officers not coming into work, incarcerated people aren’t getting escorted to their medical appointments, a New York Focus investigation finds.

Rachel Sherman   ·   August 26, 2021
New York Judges Lock the Accused Out of Their Homes, Skirting Review Required by Landmark Ruling, Critics Charge

An appellate court ordered hearings for defendants facing orders of protection that could separate them from their homes and families. But some judges — following a memo from state court officials — aren’t adhering to the ruling, defense lawyers say.

Sam Mellins   ·   July 23, 2021
In 2021 Legislative Session, a New Approach to Drug Policy

This year, state legislators passed major bills in response to the overdose crisis. Will Cuomo sign them?

Sam Mellins   ·   July 13, 2021
NYC Jails Have Far More Correction Officers Than Any Other City. Why Are They Hiring 400 More?

Rikers Island and other city lockups employ five officers for every three incarcerated people. As some call for a reduction in officers, the City Council okays a budget plan that boosts the ranks by 400.

Lauren Gill and Reuven Blau, THE CITY   ·   July 11, 2021
New York Regulations Allow Cops Stripped of Training Credentials to Be Rehired

Police officers who were decertified by state regulators went on to find work at other departments and public safety agencies, records show.

Arno Pedram and Luca Powell   ·   July 8, 2021
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