Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed under New York's Adult Survivors Act, allowing survivors of sexual assault, including current or former prisoners at #RikersIsland, to sue regardless of the elapsed time since the alleged abuse. A total of 694 lawsuits have been confirmed against #NewYorkCity over abuse at #Rikers, indicating a surge in litigation that legal experts believe may offer justice to many victims. The law expired on November 24 but has already led to high-profile lawsuits against celebrities and politicians.
Attorney Anna Kull, who filed numerous cases under the act, highlights systemic failures and the need for comprehensive reform at Rikers. Lawyers, such as Adam Slater, argue that the prison culture at Rikers fosters an environment conducive to sexual abuse due to an extreme power imbalance.
The New York City Department of Correction acknowledges the lawsuits, emphasizing a zero-tolerance policy against sexual abuse. However, the notorious Rikers Island has long faced issues of mass incarceration, violence, and corruption. The conditions at the facility, along with the prevalence of sexual abuse, have fueled calls for its closure. Advocates, including Survived & Punished, demand an end to the culture allowing vulnerable populations to be abused in correctional facilities.
The Adult Survivors Act has provided a legal avenue for survivors like Shanaye, Tammy, and Genaro Campos to seek justice. Advocacy groups, such as Safe Horizon, played a crucial role in the law's passage but emphasized that it is a single step and hope for continued efforts to prevent sexual abuse in prisons.