BREAKING: City Unveils Plan for Bronx and Other Borough Jail to Replace Rikers Island Facilities

Modern facilities will be designed to be integrated into surrounding neighborhoods and promote safety and support for the people who work and reside within them

Artistic Rendering Credit: Office of the NYC Mayor

The de Blasio administration today unveiled plans for the building of four modern, community-based jails throughout the City that will replace the detention facilities on Rikers Island. The innovative plan envisions facilities that will be fully integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods with community space, ground-floor retail and parking. The planned facilities will also provide a safer environment to work and will allow people in jail to remain closer to their loved ones, as well as offer quality health, education, visitation and recreational services that will help people reintegrate once they return to their communities.

“We’re taking a big step forward in the process of closing Rikers Island and creating a modern community-based jail system that is smaller, safer and fairer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Now we can move full steam ahead on the engagement and planning for our new facilities so we can close Rikers as fast as possible.”

“These new jails will enable this city to close Rikers Island, which I know will help make this city a better place. The new facilities are designed to be safer for both the people incarcerated as well as the staff. The next chapter of criminal justice in New York City is beginning, and I couldn’t be prouder,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to close the jails on Rikers Island in 2017 and released a roadmap for a smaller, safer and fairer justice system. The roadmap included plans to safely reduce the jail population to 5,000 people and transition to a local borough-based jail system.

Progress on these strategies is underway with the partnership of New Yorkers, the City Council, the courts, district attorneys, defenders, service providers, and others within the justice system. When New York City released its roadmap in June 2017, the City’s jails held an average of 9,400 people on any given day. One year later, the jail population has dropped by almost 13 percent to around 8,200, the lowest level in more than three decades.

Credit: Office of the NYC Mayor

The sites under consideration are:

Bronx — 320 Concord Avenue
Brooklyn — 275 Atlantic Avenue
Manhattan — 80 Centre Street
Queens — 126-02 82nd Avenue

“Closing Rikers and moving into newer, community-based facilities comes down to one thing – and that’s safety,” said DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann. “These new jails will have improved interior layouts allowing officers more effective ways to supervise people in detention, and also provide space for quality education, health, and therapeutic programming. As we move forward with this transition, I want the men and women who are currently working on Rikers Island to know that the safer, state-of-the-art facilities you deserve are on the way.”

In February, the Mayor and the Speaker of the City Council agreed to consolidate the proposal to renovate or construct jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx into a single ULURP process, which will allow for a more expedited review. An application will be submitted for certification by the end of the year.

“I am a firm believer in closing Rikers Island, as the jail’s current conditions are neither safe nor conducive for detainees and staff. Creating a humane, innovative environment where detainees will be in close proximity to their loved ones and have access to educational, recreational, and health services will drastically change our City’s approach to detention and reduce recidivism,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “With that said, I am cognizant of my community’s concerns regarding the proposed Bronx site. I am committed to launching a robust engagement plan that will target both residents and community-based organizations to ensure all of their voices are being heard throughout the input process.”

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