It was a little more than three months ago when Lynelle Maginley-Liddie took the reins at the Department of Correction.

And now, in highly anticipated court papers, the Adams administration is using the change in leadership as a main reason why a federal takeover should not occur on Rikers Island.

What You Need To Know

  • A judge is currently considering whether a federal takeover is necessary for Rikers Island

  • In court papers on Tuesday, city lawyers lay out why they should retain control

  • They argue new leadership is already taking Rikers Island in the right direction

“Finding an outside, experienced and capable jail administrator willing to oversee one of the country’s largest jail systems would be challenging at best. Reform will occur much more quickly if Commissioner Maginley-Liddie continues on course,” officials argued in a court filing.

The city laid out its argument against receivership in hundreds of pages of documents in federal court, the latest stage of a years long court battle trying to improve conditions on Rikers Island.

Later this year, the city will face off against the Legal Aid Society, representing detainees, and federal prosecutors, who both support appointing a federal receiver to take over operations of the Department of Correction.  

The Adams administration opposes the idea and is fiercely fighting against it. In its papers Tuesday, city lawyers argue receivership in other jurisdictions, like Alabama and California have not been successful.

They argue, “a survey of receivership... make clear that receivership is not a panacea,” saying, “Receivership [tends] to last longer than expected, come with high costs, and have less than satisfactory results.”

“We are reviewing the city’s submission, but nothing in these papers changes this reality: our clients in the jails continue to suffer and the city continues to fail them. The constitution demands more, and a receiver remains necessary to reform this dysfunctional system,” a spokesperson for the Legal Aid Society said in response to Tuesday’s court filing.