The city appears to be getting serious about lowering the rate of recidivism for criminals sentenced to up to a year at Rikers Island and all the other jails in the system.
Although the agency that runs Rikers is the city Department of Correction, the emphasis has been on punishment. Statistics show that up to 70 percent of Rikers inmates find their way back to jail.
In February Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a trip to Rikers Island to announce a new program to help inmates stay out of jail once they are released.
He introduced a program called the Individualized Correction Achievement Network that will be rolled out in four facilities on Rikers and then expanded to the city’s entire jail system.
The program relies on nonprofits that will help offenders get jobs, earn a GED and stay sober. That’s a commendable but daunting task.
JoAnne Page, president of the Fortune Society, a program that has been working for decades with the Rikers population, said, “Our experience and the experience of re-entry providers in jails and prisons across the country have shown how important it is to have a seamless and supportive transition from incarceration to needed services in the community.”
Keeping an inmate at Rikers is costly. The mayor is right to do everything possible to end the cycle of recidivism and put the inmates on track to a meaningful life. We wish the program success.
We’ll Drink to That
Just hours before a ban on sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces was to go into effect in New York City, a judge blocked it.
It’s not that we disagree with the mayor. The super-size sugary drinks are making the city fat. Encouraging people not to enjoy the sugary drinks is a good thing.
But outlawing them by mayoral decree was an abuse of power. Bloomberg is the mayor, not a super parent with the right to tell people what they can eat and drink.
Bloomberg also wants the state to bar sugary soda drinks of more than16 ounces in stores. In fact, he says, “Everybody across this country should do it.”
The court has reminded Bloomberg that he was elected mayor of New York, not super nanny of America.