Mayor Proposes Changes at Rikers Island:
- Mayor de Blasio has introduced proposals to help reduce violence and eliminate smuggling at Rikers Island. Some of the proposals include: improving the security cameras, a computerized screening system, creating an inmate education program, and changing the policies for visitors. The proposal also includes plans to create a new inmate classification system and separate warring inmates and gang members.
- Under the new visitor policy, visitor-inmate physical contact would be limited to a hug at the beginning and end of the visit. There will also be plexiglass partitions installed to separate inmates and visitors. The goal of this is to avoid the smuggling of contraband, which can lead to a reduction in violence because disputes among inmates often stem from the possession of contraband.
- Critics of the Mayor’s proposal, including the Prisoners’ Rights Project at the Legal Aid Society, say that visitation is one of the only outlets inmates have to keep them sane in jails. Visitation during incarceration can often play a part in whether or not the inmate ends up back in jail after release.
- The proposals will be presented to the Board of Correction in May and, if approved, will take effect in August.
Legislators Propose Common Core Test Opt-Out:
- Legislators are proposing a bill that will allow parents to opt-out of common core curriculum tests. The bill, named the Common Core Parental Refusal Act, would require schools to inform parents of students in grades three through eight by mail, email or a letter sent home with the child that the child may refuse to take any of the standardized tests administered under the Common Core standards.