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Press Release

Statement Of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara On Status Of Rikers Island Investigation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Forty-nine days ago, on August 4th, this Office issued a report detailing the appalling treatment of adolescents at Rikers Island. Since then, we have been engaged in making sure that the City and Department of Correction are moving swiftly to implement reforms that are meaningful, effective, and permanent. As the relevant City authorities are well aware, while we are listening to their promises to take various steps, we have an independent responsibility to ensure that the Constitution is respected and upheld everywhere, including on Rikers Island, and part of that duty is to guarantee that needed reforms are lasting, verifiable, and enforceable. Another part of our duty is to make sure that only accurate information is put forward and that competent and attentive leadership is in place at all levels. If, as has been reported, incomplete and inaccurate information has been provided to us, and questionable promotions may have occurred, it does not instill confidence in us that the City will quickly meet its constitutional obligations. We are not, at this early stage, jumping to conclusions about the City’s commitment to change, and our dialogue is ongoing. However, now that the 49-day waiting period has elapsed and all options are available to us, we stand ready to take legal action to compel long-overdue reforms at Rikers, if that becomes necessary to get the job done.

Updated May 18, 2015

Press Release Number: 14-271