Trinity Church Wall Street calls vote to close Rikers, ‘An Important Victory in the Movement for Criminal Justice Reform’

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
Posted Oct 18, 2019

[October 17, 2019] Trinity Church Wall Street continues to support criminal justice reform and the end to mass incarceration in New York.  In a statement shortly after New York City lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to close the jail complex, Trinity priest, the Rev. Winnie Varghese said in a statement:

“Today’s vote is a historic victory in the fight to end mass incarceration and advance racial justice in New York City. For too long, Rikers Island has festered in the East River, separating the accused from their families and networks of support and protecting the jails from accountability. Today we say, ‘no more.’

Today, we call on the City to close the jails on Rikers much faster than the current 2026 timeline and to work to immediately improve conditions on Rikers for those who remain incarcerated and those who work in the jails.

The culture on Rikers Island impacts all of us. Everyone on Rikers returns to our neighborhoods. Let’s help us all to be better neighbors to one another.”

The vote to close Rikers is an important victory in the movement for criminal justice reform, but the work to build a justice system that honors the dignity and humanity of all of our neighbors by investing in our neighborhoods and disinvesting in punishment remains.

About Trinity Church Wall Street
Now in its fourth century, Trinity Church Wall Street is a vibrant and welcoming Episcopal community with a wide-ranging ministry of service to others. The parish welcomes approximately three million visitors per year to its historic Lower Manhattan sanctuaries, Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel. Trinity’s mission focuses on worship, social justice, music, art, and education, both locally and worldwide. More than 20 worship services are offered every week, many of which are webcast online at