BP DIAZ, COMMUNITY LEADERS RALLY TO STOP BRONX JAIL PROPOSAL

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., tenants of the Diego Beekman Houses and dozens of Bronx elected officials, advocates and community leaders will host a press conference and rally on the steps of City Hall to oppose the siting of a new jail in the Mott Haven section of The Bronx.

During the rally, leaders called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop the certification of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for the proposed jail site at 320 Concord Avenue, which is scheduled to happen on March 25. The site is currently operated as a tow yard, and is the former location of the original Lincoln Hospital, adjacent to a residential neighborhood in Mott Haven.

Instead, they called on the de Blasio administration to select a better site for the jail, specifically the existing Bronx Family Court location and additional vacant space next to the Bronx Hall of Justice on East 161st Street.

The proposed location at 320 Concord Avenue was selected without community input, and has been controversial from the moment it was announced: The site is so far away from the borough’s criminal court that it goes against the recommendations of criminal justice experts, who almost universally believe that jails should be adjacent to court and other criminal justice services. The site fails to meet this key recommendation of the Lippman Commission’s report on closing Rikers Island, and The Bronx is the only borough in the plan that is not supposed to get a facility next to their courthouse.

Additionally, after years of community input and planning, the Mott Haven community and the leadership of the Diego Beekman Houses have put forward a plan to redevelop the tow yard site with a community-centered affordable housing and mixed-use development. The proposed jail would prevent that plan from going forward.

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