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Stanley Richards, former Rikers inmate, named to NYC jail leadership

NEW YORK — Stanley Richards long faced the label of “formerly incarcerated person.” 

But for decades, he’s also worked to help others return home from jails and prisons. He’s served on a oversight board for New York City’s jail system, and the Obama administration named him a “champion of change.”

“None of us are the worst things that we’ve ever done,” Richards said.

On Wednesday, Richards will be appointed to the city’s Department of Correction leadership — the first person on senior staff who was formerly incarcerated in its jails. As first deputy commissioner, Richards will oversee Department of Correction programs and operations at a crucial time when the city is moving toward closing the notorious Rikers Island.

In an interview with USA TODAY on Tuesday, Richards said he was excited to get to work on engaging both the correction officers and the jail’s population. He also sees all his work as part of the larger plan to close Rikers.


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