Attorneys from The Legal Aid Society told a Manhattan federal judge on Friday that they would seek to have their clients released from Rikers Island, as the court races to address rapidly deteriorating conditions and a spate of deaths at the notorious New York City prison.

The extraordinary request, made during an emergency conference in long-running litigation against the city, came as a federal monitor raised grave concerns about mismanagement at the New York City Department of Corrections, which had contributed to a crisis marked by a rise in violence and self-harm.