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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Color of Change: Anthony Scott’s Tragic Death Serves as Painful Reminder of Humanitarian Crisis at Rikers Island


Scott Roberts, Senior Director of Criminal Justice and Democracy Campaigns at Color Of Change, issued this statement following the death of Anthony Scott, the 14th incarcerated individual to die at Rikers Island this year:

“Anthony Scott should still be alive today. His death, which follows the deaths of thirteen other Black and Brown individuals incarcerated at Rikers this year, serves as another painful reminder of the humanitarian crisis happening in New York City’s backyard. To address this crisis, we need decarceration.

“While Black and Brown people make up 52 percent of the city’s population, they are ninety percent of the population at Rikers Island, an overwhelming majority because they cannot pay bail, leading to a two-tiered system of injustices wherein the human costs are enormous. In the past eighteen months, Rikers has seen multiple waves of COVID-19 outbreaks, unconscionable violence, and corruption. But instead of releasing people on their own recognizance amid this crisis, DAs continue to set bail well above what people can pay. Mass incarceration has always been dangerous. But now, during the spiraling crisis on Rikers Island, it can be a death sentence.

“New York officials must address the Rikers Island disaster, and that begins with New York’s prosecutors. These individuals wield tremendous power in stemming the tide of violence against incarcerated individuals, but none of them choose to use it. In Manhattan, which accounts for one-fifth of the city’s total population but is responsible for one-third of Rikers Island’s population, District Attorney Cy Vance is fueling New York’s mass incarceration crisis. New York prosecutors must stop requesting money bail and enabling violence Rikers if we ever hope to end this crisis and protect Black and Brown lives.” 


Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.

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