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John Legend backs NYC mayor in Rikers Island closing

SUPPORTIVE: John Legend speaks during Close Rikers & Free America: Power of the People discussion

JOHN LEGEND has announced his backing of New York mayor Bill De Blasio’s attempt to close Rikers Island jail.

The prison, which has housed many of the city’s criminals since 1932, has been left harsh conditions and many inmate deaths have put the jail come under the spotlight.

While Legend has backed the Mayor’s attempt to close the jail, he believes more should be done to reform America’s justice system to ensure fewer people go to jail.

“Rikers exists in large part because of that population of people that cannot afford bail,” he saod. “When we talk about reducing our population in these jails and making it easier to close Rikers, the biggest hurdle is making sure that no one’s locked up because they’re too poor to pay $1,000.”

In many U.S. states those who are accused of a crime often have to remain in prison if they cannot afford a bail bond.

John believes this is unfair, and thinks bail demands should be dropped as they discriminate against the poor.

“If your only difference is that you’re poorer, that should not be the reason why you’re locked up,” he explains.

New York state governor Andrew Cuomo has also backed closing Rikers Island prison. When the prison closes city officials plan to move its inmates to smaller, more modern facilities.

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