LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) — The future of the Rikers Island prison complex took center stage in a Lower Manhattan courtroom Thursday.

One possible outcome of the hearing is that a judge could order a federal commissioner to take over.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams opposes such a takeover, saying the city is capable of fixing the long-standing problems at Rikers.

“I’m a little confused by people who think federal regulatory authority is the end-all, be-all,” the mayor said. “Are federal prisons … the poster children of a good prison? Go to 30th Street and Third Avenue. I don’t know why people think “okay, let’s take this to federal bankruptcy court” and suddenly all the problems go away. This is not true.”

But community activists, including those formerly incarcerated at Rikers and those whose loved ones are still incarcerated, want to strip New York of control of the facility.

“The Adams administration is clearly showing that it cannot handle Rikers Island,” said Kenyatta Mutsani of the Katal Center for Justice, Health and Justice. “We need to close Rikers.”

They are demanding a federal takeover and planned to make their message loud and clear at a rally in Foley Square before Thursday afternoon’s hearing.

This year, 18 inmates died in city prisons. most of them are at Rikers.

Colony employees also became victims of violence.

Less than three weeks ago, the officer was hospitalized having received more than a dozen stab wounds.

RELATED: Eyewitness News tracks crime and safety in New York City and in your area


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