New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams pushed back on City Council lawmakers on Tuesday, Dec 21st who are once again pushing a bill that would bar the use of solitary confinement in city jails.
“For people to continue to say that Eric supports solitary confinement, that is just a lie, I support punitive segregation,” Adams shared.
Many people are responding to what Adams said at a Thursday, Dec. 16th press conference – where he appointed Louis Molina as the first Latino Commissioner of Corrections – that he will bring “punitive segregation” back to Rikers Island jail. At the press conference last week, Adams warned the inmates on Rikers Island to start behaving because he plans to immediately reverse outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy against solitary confinement.
“I am not going to be in a city where dangerous people assault innocent people, go to jail and assault more people,” Adams continued to tell reporters after an unrelated press conference in front of Rockefeller Center. “You cannot have a jail system where someone sexually assaults a staffer, slash an inmate and then say it is all right.”
Adams – a retired New York Police Department chief – went on to rebuke the 29 members of the City Council who signed a letter sent Tuesday that demanded passage of the legislation, arguing they were “romanticizing this issue.”
“There is a body of people that are coming into the City Council, they have no desire in moving our City forward,” he added. “Their desire is to be disruptive. What am I going to do? I’m going to ignore them. I’m going to stay committed, undistracted and I’m going to grind.”
In the letter the 29 incoming members of the new-look City Council stated, “Solitary confinement is considered by the United Nations, human rights organizations and medical and mental health experts to be a form of torture,” they wrote. “It causes intense suffering and has taken the lives of countless New Yorkers. New York City will never torture our way to safety,” it concluded.
Despite the public rebuke from the between a band of rookie councilmembers, Eric Adams stands by his words unapologetically and says if you are going to quote him, make sure you quote him correctly.