New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave a shout out to our own Herb Sturz in an ebullient press conference on October 17th announcing the closing of Rikers Island. The mayor thanked stakeholders after the City Council voted to close the controversial jail complex and replace it with four smaller jails by 2026.
“This is about valuing our people,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Today we made history: The era of mass incarceration is over.”
The mayor then went on to recognize Herb’s role as one of the most impactful and committed criminal justice reform champions in NYC history. Herb co-founded Wildcat and the Vera Institute of Justice; served 25 years as senior advisor at the Open Society Foundations, and as Deputy Mayor of New York City for Criminal Justice. Back when Ed Koch was mayor of NYC (1978 to 1989), Herb was fighting to close Rikers. He was among the first members of the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform that was established to study how best to close the jail.
Mayor de Blasio said–“And a special thank you to one of the real true statesman and voices of conscience in this city, and I know he’s one of the people who have been behind many great causes and ahead of the times–Herb Sturz and the Open Society Foundation. Thank you. As Herb will attest, they said it couldn’t be done until it was done. They said it was impossible until it was possible.”
Congratulations to Herb Sturz for his leadership in this historic effort on behalf of the justice-involved and all the people of New York City! Please click here, here, and here to read more about the closing of Rikers.