New York City Ignores Turnstile Jumpers as Public Defenders Send Immigrants to Rikers

New York City prosecutors won’t be spending time on thousands of turnstile jumpers according to New York Patch.

Manhattan prosecutor Cyrus Vance made the announcement on June 30 that the city’s DA office would end its prosecution of 20,000 non-violent, minor crimes. Bouncing over turnstiles at New York subway stations used to bring fines and jail time. It was a stance that disproportionately affected minorities.

Vance has worked to decrease prosecution and ended criminal prosecution of over 10,000 smaller infractions such as littering and drinking alcohol in public. Locking up turnstile jumpers has been pointed out by activists as a scheme that criminalizes the indigent by arresting city-dwellers who may be too penniless to purchase a subway card.

Of the thousands of offenses which won’t see a prosecution, turnstile jumping is the most frequent. Vance’s office estimates that more than 10,000 persons were arrested for skipping the subway fare in Manhattan in 2016.

Under the new policy, individuals nabbed perpetrating low-level offenses will be given a summons or community service as an alternative to being shackled and taken to jail Prosecutors can still go after criminal charges for those who they believe ‘pose a threat’ to public safety.

The slow-down in indictments is expected to aid the city in its ambitious program to reduce the city’s jail populace within ten-years. Despite Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of a plan to shut down the city’s largest jail, public defender’s are suggesting to some of their clients that time in Riker’s may help them in other, unforeseen ways.

Public Defenders Try to Get Their Clients Into Rikers

New York City’s public defenders are seeking to get immigrant clients put in Rikers to fend off the federal mandate of deportation.

As immigrant arrests go the stratosphere and federal agents lurking at each courthouse in the city, many court-appointed attorneys are now suggesting to some of their clients to seek refuge on Rikers Island.

The fact that lawyers would attempt to get offenders imprisoned in the jail system is a sad testament to just how orwellian justice can be under Donald Trump. The next question: What do immigrant arrestees do next.

“Our clientele is safer in Rikers under the auspices of the Department of Corrections than on trial,” said Sin Yen Ling, an immigration solicitor. “It is a strategy that we have agreed to across the city to shield our clients.”

With no other avenue available, attorneys say the quantity of immigrants sent into ‘protective custody’ on Rikers Island is apt to grow.

“It is pretty much the only mechanism available to keep clients safe,” said Daniel Kron, one of the best traffic lawyers in New York. “To the extent that ICE continues to maintain a presence, people may be seeing it a lot more.”

Jerry Nelson spends much of his time poking Trump’s meth-addled, uneducated fans with a pointy stick and is currently writing a book of muskrat recipes as well as a scrapbook of his favorite death threats. His life’s aspiration is to rule the world with an iron fist, or find that sock he’s been looking for. Feel free to email him at if you have any questions or comments — or join the million (seriously) or so who follow him on Twitter @Journey_America. Never far from his Marlboro’s and coffee, Jerry is always interested in discussing future writing opportunities.

Originally published at on July 5, 2017.

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