NEW YORK (Sputnik) — The New York City Council has approved $750,000 in funding for a legal services program at Rikers Island jail, the Legal Aid Society announced in a statement.
“The funds will allow Legal Aid to support the current staff in the Prisoners Rights Project, whose staff was cut in half over the last two decades,” Legal Aid Society Attorney-in-Chief Seymour James said on Wednesday. “The funding will also allow the program to hire a paralegal case handler, who will be available to directly assist clients.”
The decision to fund the program as part of the city’s $75.8 billion budget is a first and comes at a time when there is a growing concern over the conditions of which prisoners are being detained throughout New York City.
The reforms will fix the damage to many detainees who have not been provided needed health and mental care and services, as well as been victims of brutality and sexual violence, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson said on Tuesday.
There are approximately 65,000 men and women incarcerated in New York State prisons and about 14,000 in New York City jails, according to the Legal Aid Society.