A settlement was reached on Wednesday between the city and thousands of inmates who believe they were treated inhumanely.

Gary Garcia Jr., who served time at Rikers Island from 2016 to 2022, is relieved to hear the news.

What You Need To Know

  • The city has agreeed to hand over more than $53 million to inmates at Rikers Island and Manhattan Detention Center in a settlement reached Wednesday

  • The plaintiffs alleged they were held in very small spaces and in areas that lacked exposure to daylight

  • More than 4,000 inmates will get $400 for every day they were in the restricted spaces

  • The proposed agreement will need to be signed by a federal judge to be finalized

“I thought it was a good reaction on the court’s part, especially for us and all the guys,” Garcia Jr. said.

The city has agreed to pay up to $53 million to thousands of detainees. This would benefit 4,000 people who were pretrial detainees in city facilities, including at parts of Rikers Island and Manhattan Detention Complex from March 2018 until June 2022.

Garcia Jr. felt ignored and like he was in a dungeon while in jail.

“We’re getting our voice out there,” Garcia Jr. said of the settlement.

Others claimed they were held in extremely small cells and were held in spaces isolated from daylight.

The lawsuit alleges that the conditions were comparable to those expereinced in solitary confinement.

“They didn't have a trial and they haven’t had any hearing in which the department said here are the reasons we need to put you in more restrictive conditions,” Alexander Reinert, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city will pay the former detainees $400 a day for each day they were in these restrictive facilities. People who have serious mental illness or are under 22 years old will get an additional $50 a day.

“I think the amound that is set forth in this settlement agreement is quite fair and reasonable under the circumstaces, even as I acknowledge that. You can’t ever make up for the kind of harm of people that are held in these conditions,” Reinert said.

The proposed agreement would need to be signed off by a federal judge to be finalized.

“The safety of all individuals on Rikers is among the city's highest priorities. While the housing assignments at issue reflected these safety concerns, the practices that led to this litigation have been modified. The settlement is in the best interest of all parties," a statement from a law department spokesperson said.