Rikers Island, New York City, Jimani Williams discussed on Democracy Now! Audio


Crime up that something has to be done. I think part of the reason why the jail population and on rikers island increased about forty percent between last summer when we were at all time lows of about thirty eight hundred people to about six thousand people just a month ago is because of this fear mongering and inaccurate rhetoric around bail reform criminal justice reform vis-a-vis crime rates there. We are not at all time highs in terms of crime and public safety threats in new york city or new york state. Actually we are on par with twenty teens historic lows in terms of crime rates but it is true and i think we need to talk about and acknowledge that murders were up and shootings a gun. Crimes related to murders two. Were up In twenty twenty and twenty twenty one as compared to twenty nineteen all time lows. They're still far below what it was like in your city in the ninety s. And i'm sure coca can can recount what it was like in the nineties or even the to the early two thousands so we are still at very low crime rates across crime categories. But it's true that in the last few years gun. Crimes and murders have gone up compared to twenty one thousand nine hundred twenty eighteen which were very very low and so we need to address those again this is about solutions and what we know is throwing people in jail is not a long term solution to gun crime and murders in fact we need to be taking our investments. Some of the two and a half billion dollars we spend on the department of correction on on jailing people on rikers island. We need to take a big chunk of that money to invest in evidence based solutions to public safety issues that means credible messengers and violence interrupters and the kinds of in the community programming where we've seen Eighty six percent drops in a gun crimes and homicides in places like richmond california. We've seen it here. In new york city in crown heights where after credible messengers violence interrupters went into the community that they had lower rates in that community of gun crimes and shootings specifically and shooting related homicides as compared to the nypd precinct adjacent to them. We do have are. We just have thirty seconds. But i wanted to go back to jimani williams. The new york city public advocate. You formed an exploratory commission. An exploratory committee to run for governor. What would you do differently to the conversation going on. We have to have once acknowledged spikes in crime. But we also need leaders who're gonna guide new yorkers through the facts of what's happening and not feed into the fearmongering that was done thirty years ago at one. The cracker damage happened and didn't actually solve the problem and people apologized thirty years later when we look at where we were at two thousand eighteen and twenty nineteen. The same people said we needed to lock up more black and brown people even at as at historic lows. I want to go back to twenty ten and twenty eleven when we toll folks which is the number where now that we had better way of dealing with this violence and from two thousand ten twenty seven to two thousand eighteen. We will fought all the way to becoming the safest city we had ever been an safest in the nation. We have but. I wanna thank you so much for being with us and this conversation will continue germany williams new york city public advocate. Considering a run for the new york governorship. I wanna thank goodness. Isa aboard was formerly jailed at rikers and bedford. Hills and jillian harris calvin director of the greater justice new york program at the institute of justice as we move now to our final segment. This is democracy now we end today. Show looking at the ongoing protests. That's taking place in new jersey. The people's organisation for progress or pop is leading sixty seven mile march to the capital. Trenton to demand the new jersey legislature. Pass legislation to hold police accountable. The march began a week ago. In montclair wraps up saturday and trenton joining us now from the side of the road is larry ham chair of the people's organisation for progress his joining us on the road. He heads to princeton for today's leg of the protest march. Can you talk about your demands. Larry morning amen. Thank you for having me on. Yes this is. The long march for justice. The march to trenton for police accountability for social justice and economic progress. We're marching to draw attention to the issue of police brutality and we want the state legislature to pass bill a forty six fifty six. Which is the police review boards with subpoena power bill. We want that. Bill passed because that will enable municipalities to have police review boards with subpoena power. Which the f. o. p. and the police organizations have been fighting because they don't want civilian oversight. We're marching for an end to voter suppression. We support the john. Lewis voting rights act. But we also want same day registration here new jersey. We're marching for reparations for african-americans for the enslavement of our ancestors. We're calling on the legislature to pass bill a seven eleven which would establish reparations commission similar to. Hr forty the national reparations bill in congress which we also support and we're marching for economic progress. We feel that seven dollars and twenty five cents. Federal minimum wage is a slave wage. And we want an immediate doubling of the federal minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour and we. We also want free college for young people and the abolition of student debt. Those are some of our demands. What is the response of the governor of the legislature. Well it's it's not been a great response off from the legislature because the police review boards. Bill which is at the top of our list has wound. Its way through. The legislative process was released from committee. The only thing remaining is the speaker of the assembly to posted for vote and the president of the senate to post the senate version as twenty nine sixty three four vote. They have refused to do so for months after they posted for voted then has to be signed by the governor. Now this is interesting because it came up as an issue in the gubernatorial debate that was held just a couple of days ago and the the governor's response was not the strongest that we anticipated. And so this is why we're marching with marching to draw attention to the issue and the put the pressure on the state leadership to pass this bill because police brutality is a real serious problem here in the state of new jersey the role of street protests larry. You ran against cory booker for senator in new jersey Yet.

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