"After Rikers: Justice by Design" Film Screening & Panel Discussion

April 23
Tishman Auditorium, Vanderbilt Hall, NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square S., New York, NY 10014

Please join the NYU College of Global Public Health, NYU Silver School of Social Work, Brennan Center for Justice, and Public Square Media for a film screening of After Rikers: Justice by Design followed by a panel discussion.

After Rikers: Justice by Design is a new short film produced by Public Square Media that explores the vision for community-based jails that New York City plans to build as part of its efforts to reform the criminal justice system and significantly reduce incarceration in the city. The City’s overarching goal is to reduce the daily head count of people in pre-trial detention from almost 10,000 to 5,000 and close the jail facilities on Rikers Island. The 15-minute film will be available in March 2019 as a catalyst for civic engagement as New Yorkers consider the details and the implications of this historic step forward in the city’s justice system. Watch the trailer here.

It has been almost two years since the Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform – commonly known as the Lippman Commission – and Mayor Bill de Blasio called for closing Rikers Island and building new smaller jails closer to court houses in the city’s boroughs.  Since then significant progress has been achieved, with fewer than 8,000 people currently incarcerated on a daily basis and conceptual plans emerging for the new jail buildings. The preliminary building plans and neighborhood siting have, however, not been without controversy.

The goal of After Rikers: Justice By Design is to step back from the site-specific concerns that have dominated public discussion and consider broader questions about these new facilities. How will they be different from Rikers Island? What problems are they intended to solve? Can new facilities help to change the culture of violence that has plagued Rikers Island? How will design features support a larger vision of criminal justice reform?  What will a system of borough-based jails mean for corrections officers, family members of incarcerated people, service providers and the legal community? Can new facilities help to reduce the cycle of incarceration? Will the investment in new buildings enhance justice?

Program Details

5:30pm - Doors open to guests

5:45pm - Welcoming remarks by Dr. Cheryl G. HealtonDean, NYU College of Global Public Health

5:50pm - Framing remarks around mass incarceration by Dr. Kirk A. James, Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work, NYU Silver

6:00pm - Film screening of After Rikers: Justice by Design

6:20pm - Panel discussion begins

Moderator: Dr. Kirk A. James


  • Lauren-Brooke "L.B." Eisen, Senior Fellow, NYU Brennan Center for Justice
  • DeAnna Hoskins, President, JustLeadershipUSA
  • Dana Kaplan, Deputy Director, NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, Justice Initiatives and Close Rikers
  • Stanley Richards, Vice President, Fortune Society; Member, Lippman Commission; Member, Mayor's Task Force
  • Homer Venters, Author, “Life and Death in Rikers Island”; Former Chief Medical Office, New York City Jails; Clinical Associate Professor, NYU GPH; Senior Health and Justice Fellow, Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS)

6:50pm - Q&A session

7:05pm - Closing remarks by Dr. Kirk A. James

7:10pm - Event concludes

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.