New York City Council speaker seeks criminal justice reforms

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is calling for criminal justice reforms that could include the eventual closure of the massive Rikers Island jail.

The comments are part of her annual State of the City address on Thursday.

The 400-acre island in the East River houses most of the city’s 10,000 inmates. It has been plagued by violence, and many activists have called for it to be shuttered.

Mark-Viverito says she wants to grant amnesty for more than 700,000 outstanding warrants for low-level offenses that clog the criminal justice system.

She also is announcing the creation of a commission to study a system to open jail facilities in the boroughs, allowing Rikers to close.

The Democrat spoke at a Bronx high school in her council district.

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