City and State Lawmakers Must Commit to #JusticeForLayleen

Media Contact:
Eliel Cruz, Director of Communications,

City and State Lawmakers Must Commit to #JusticeForLayleen

The NYC Anti-Violence Project is calling on city and state officials to take concrete steps towards ending the criminalization and abuse of transgender women of color in New York’s carceral system. Last week, the Bronx District Attorney released the results of their investigation into the death of Layleen Cubilette-Polanco Xtravaganza at Rikers Island which confirmed that “correction officers failed to follow the Department of Correction’s (DOC) directive that every inmate housed in Punitive Segregation shall be observed at least once every 15 minutes, at irregular intervals.” Instead, a deadly 47 minutes went by without anyone checking on Layleen. The video footage released by the family, puts the guards’ disregard for Layleen’s life on full display. 

The New York City Anti-Violence Project calls for:

  • The NY State Legislature to pass the HALT Solitary Confinement Act and end solitary confinement in New York City jails.
  • The State to repeal #WalkingWhileTrans ban 
  • The State to stop implementation of 2020 bail reform rollbacks  
  • The Department of Corrections fire correction officers and their captain involved in Layleen Polanco’s death in solitary confinement at Rikers Island

 The following is a statement from Beverly Tillery, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project: 

 “The neglect and utter disregard for Layleen’s life by prison officials, which is confirmed by both the Bronx DA’s report and the released video showing the guards’ inaction outside her cell around the time of her death, is a travesty. Thousands of transgender people are regularly subjected to neglect and violence and stripped of their humanity within our nation’s jails and prisons. These acts of state violence have to stop and we are calling on our city and state officials to take action now to ensure accountability for Layleen’s tragic death, and to end the criminalization and disproportionate incarceration and abuse of transgender New Yorkers.”

An AVP spokesperson is available for comment.