Mayor Eric Adams visits Rikers Island on Thanksgiving

Mayor Eric Adams spent part of his Thanksgiving on Rikers Island.

NY1 exclusively went with him as he toured the Rose M. Singer Center, where over 300 women are detained. He was joined by Department of Corrections Commissioner Louis Molina.

“We’ve always treated Rikers Island as this distant place. ‘Whatever happened here, let’s ignore it.’ This administration refused to do that,” Adams said. “And one way of saying we’re not going to ignore you is for the man to show up.”

The jail complex has struggled with violence and this year alone, there have been 18 deaths of detainees in custody or recently released from custody. Adams said that’s part of the reason why he’s here.

“It’s just important to be humane in a facility like this,” Adams said.

He visited a nursery where a mother gave birth six months ago. Another detainee helped her take care of the baby.

“When I heard you were here, I just wanted to come and wish you a happy Thanksgiving,” Adams said to the mother.

In a cafeteria at the facility, some of the more than 7,000 employees held their own version of Thanksgiving dinner. While visiting, Adams asked them about their shifts.

“Number one, we realize it’s been long hours for a long time,” Adams said. “The doubles and triples you’ve heard of in the Department of Correction, and when I got elected, you know, I was told by some of the officers when I visited here about the triples. We want to cut down on those.”

“These officers, I believe, really just underappreciated. It’s a very difficult job and be here every day doing that job and you’re doing long tours and long hours. I want to say Happy Thanksgiving,” Adams added.

Recently, a judge ruled that the city should keep control of the jail complex after lawyers of some detainees demanded a federal takeover.

Adams says that the city is working on creative ways to separate dangerous inmates from those who need psychological help and better mental health resources.

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