Pros and Cons of Receiverships as a Catalyst for Institutional Reform

May 19, 2022

On May 19, the Columbia Justice Lab co-sponsored an important virtual forum on Fixing Rikers Island: A Federal Receivership? The federal monitor overseeing Rikers Island recently concluded that city jails are “trapped in a state of persistent dysfunctionality” with “imminent risk of harm to incarcerated individuals and staff.” This has led numerous knowledgeable city leaders to call for a receivership to bring a sense of urgency to improve safety at city jails for staff and incarcerated people alike. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York intimated that, if conditions did not improve soon, he might move for a receivership.

The forum included two panels, one of which discussed the successful federal court takeover of juvenile detention in Chicago as an example of what a receivership might achieve in New York City, followed by a response panel of New York City experts.

Short bios and photos can be viewed HERE. Speakers included:

  • Teresa Abreu, former Acting Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director/Chief Legal Counsel of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center
  • Gladys Carrión, former Commissioner, NYC Administration for Children's Services; Senior Fellow, Columbia Justice Lab
  • Zachary Carter, former NYC Corporation Counsel, former U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of NY, and Chairman of the Board of the Legal Aid Society
  • Illinois State Senator John Curran, former Cook County State's Attorney
  • Tom Geraghty, former "Next Friend" in the Cook County litigation, Professor of Law and Director Emeritus, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Liz Glazer, Vital City; former Director, NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
  • Michael Jacobson, Executive Director CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance, Professor, Sociology Department CUNY Graduate Center and former Commissioner, NYC Departments of Correction and Probation
  • Errol Louis, Host, Inside City Hall, NY1
  • Stanley Richards, Deputy CEO Fortune Society, former First Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Correction, and former Vice-Chair, NYC Board of Correction
  • Sara Norman, Managing Attorney, Prison Law Office, San Quentin, CA
  • Vincent Schiraldi, Columbia Justice Lab/School of Social Work; former Commissioner, NYC Departments of Correction and Probation
  • Ben Wolf, former Legal Director of the ACLU of Illinois, former Director of the ACLU of Illinois' Institutional Reform Project, and lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Jimmy Doe v. Cook County litigation

View a recording of the event.

Opening and Closing remarks:

  • Vincent Schiraldi's Opening remarks can be read HERE.
  • Liz Glazer's Closing remarks can be read HERE.

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