NYC reaches settlement in class-action lawsuit over release delays at Rikers Island

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New York City has reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit over release delays at Rikers Island.

Tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people could be eligible to receive thousands of dollars as a result.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports, a federal judge still needs to sign off on this, but it relates to people who were jailed and made bail, but weren’t released for hours or days after.

One of the lawyers who worked on the lawsuit says this affects about 72,000 people.

Each person who has a claim is entitled to $3,500 for each instance where a delay happened over the eight-year settlement period, dating back to 2014.

“To the extent we can locate people, they should be getting a mailing. There will also be a website that’s going to be created … It’s not live yet, but it should go live in about a week, and that will also have a way for people to fill out online claim forms. There is no proof that people have to put forward because we already have the list of everybody who was released on bail. They do have to swear that they have no reason to believe they were released in less than three hours,” said attorney Debbie Greenberger.

A Department of Correction spokesperson says, “The department for decades has operated on antiquated systems and processes to run our jails in the 21st century and the settlement of this lawsuit brings closure to that era.”

That spokesperson adds they’re working to improve jail operations with technology and staff, and in 2021, the agency implemented a bail-tracking system.

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