JAIL REFORM, SAFETY, AND JUSTICE IN NYC: Rethinking Rikers and the Role of the Courts

Thursday, December 1, 2022

6:30 pm

Hybrid (see description for details)

Open to the Public

An empty prison cell
Hosted By
Admission Price

Free; Reservations Required


This program is offered as both an in-person and livestream event. Choose one:




The horrific conditions at Rikers Island were highlighted by the case of Kalief Browder, who died in 2015 after being held for three years without a trial. According to a recent watchdog report, Rikers is more “unstable and unsafe” than ever, and the average time a person spends there is growing. Experts discuss how the courts can decrease case-processing time to reduce jail time for those awaiting trial, and how it helps both those inside the jail and the community.

Featuring: Akeem Browder, founder of the Kalief Browder Foundation; Hon. George A. Grasso (Ret.), former administrative judge for Queens County Supreme Court; and Jan Ransom, investigative reporter for The New York Times. Moderated by Michael Jacobson, executive director, CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance.

Headshots of four speakers, "Rethinking Rikers and the Role of the Courts"

Jail Reform, Safety, and Justice in NYC:
A Three-Part Series

With fear of violent crime on the rise, a broken jail system creating dangerous conditions on Rikers and beyond, and calls for reform of the criminal legal system growing louder, what can be done? Is it possible for reform and community safety to move forward simultaneously? Picking up where our highly acclaimed fall 2021 Police Reform series left off, this three-part series will dive deep into new ideas for bringing about meaningful change.

Reserve for other series events:

Understanding Alternatives to Incarceration
Thursday, November 17, 6:30 p.m.

Reimagining the Purpose and Function of Jail 
Thursday, December 8, 6:30 p.m.

Presented with the CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance.

In-person attendees will be checked in at the door. Visitors to the Graduate Center must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had a negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR) test performed by an accredited lab taken no more than seven days prior to the visit. One-day visitors may submit proof of vaccination by presenting either a CDC Vaccination Card or the NYS Excelsior Pass or supplying proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test by presenting a copy of the lab results.

CUNY students, faculty, and staff must comply with the University’s vaccine policies. Faculty, staff, and students with verified proof of vaccination will use the CUNY Access Pass in Cleared4 to enter the Graduate Center. Please follow the steps outlined in the Building Entry Policy.

Please see Building Entry Policy for more information.

A video of this event will be posted a few days later on our YouTube Channel.

Please contact Jimmy Cok at jcok@gc.cuny.edu for CART services or any additional accessibility requests or concerns for in-person events, at least two weeks in advance of the event.​ This event will be livestreamed, and closed captions will be provided.