Five Boro Defenders (5BD) is an all-volunteer collective of public defenders, civil rights attorneys, and advocates working to end systemic injustice and racism within the criminal punishment system. 


We are committed to decarceration at all times. However, the current conditions on Rikers Island and in our City jails constitute an acute humanitarian crisis. In response, 5 Boro Defenders is organizing a Day of Action to call for the immediate release of those currently incarcerated and to demand that not a single additional person is sent by judges and prosecutors to Rikers Island or any City jail facilities for a potential death sentence.


On September 27, 2021, beginning at 9:30AM, we ask our allies to pack the arraignment courtrooms, to the extent this is safely possible while masked and mindful of COVID-19, in all five boroughs across the City. It is essential that people bear witness to the decisions being made on a daily basis that subject our neighbors to torture and watch defenders call attention to these atrocities while seeking release for each client.

Just prior to 12PM, those present are asked to walk out of the courtrooms for a rally outside of each criminal court building and 12 minutes of silence beginning at 12PM for the twelve people who have died just this year alone in DOC custody. Please bring signs bearing their names and other messages of support for the immediate decarceration of all New Yorkers.

If you cannot be physically present at either arraignments or the 12PM rallies, please consider sharing this information, donating to bail funds such as COVID Bail Out NYC, and participating in the 12 minutes of silence at 12PM.

The action locations are:

  • Bronx Criminal Court, 215 E. 161st St., Bronx
  • Brooklyn Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn
  • Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Centre St, New York
  • Queens Criminal Court, 125-01 Queens Blvd., Queens
  • Staten Island Criminal Court, 26 Central Ave, Staten Island

We undertake this collective action in honor of those who have died in Department of Corrections Custody in just the last 8 months, all who have been killed before them, and all those currently suffering the deplorable and life-threatening conditions of our City jails. 

We hope you can join us, and we thank you sincerely for your advocacy for our incarcerated neighbors.