Moving women and transgender women from Rikers to prison is not the answer

“The number one priority for both city and state government right now should be to create an accessible, humane and trauma-responsive center in New York City for the few women and gender-expanding people who will remain incarcerated.”

Garrett Murphy

The city and state have announced plans to transfer 230 women and transgender people held in Rikers to state prisons in Westchester.

This is very clear: New York A plan to relocate women and people extending their gender from Rikers Island Staying 40 miles from the city is not the long-term solution to the unreasonable conditions in city prisons.

a fact The solution is to divert women affected by justice to community-based alternatives, housing, and other community services. This is one of the key principles of our #BEYONDrosies campaign, which has long advocated the closure of the Rose M. Singer Ladies Facility in Rikers.

Fighting for Rosie’s gendered women and people is personal to me, as are many of my #BEYONDRosies sisters and brothers. She was imprisoned, first at Rikers Island and then at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the same prison to which the women and hypersexuals of Rosie are being transferred under the new plan of Governor Cathy Hochhol and Mayor de Blasio.

Unfortunately, the inhumane conditions inside these facilities are all too familiar to me and many of the women at #BEYONDrosies. We know the pain of being separated from our loved ones and the devastating uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds.

But we also know that there are other ways to deal with women and other transgender people who end up in our justice system – and these methods should be used. Too often, they are locked up and forgotten, especially those accused of violent crimes.

Research and experience tell us that the majority of women and people who are sexually expansive are themselves trauma survivors. Take Rikers. More than two-thirds of the women in Rosie have experienced intimate partner violence, and nearly a quarter have serious mental illness. The vast majority have not been convicted of any crime. They will eventually end up back in society with the added trauma of the time they spend behind bars.

Women need support, housing, and universal services, not prison. It is well established that this is the best approach to treat affected people with justice and to promote public safety.

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