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City Begins Process to Ban Jails from Rikers Island

Rikers Island (Wikimedia)

Dec. 5, 2019 By Allison Griffin

The City began the land use process Monday to ensure that Rikers Island never houses another inmate again after the facility closes at the end of 2026.

The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Department of Correction and the Speaker of the City Council filed a land use application to change Rikers designation on the official city map to a public place, marking the first step in the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP).

The application submitted Monday is solely focused on the mapping of Rikers to change its use from a jail facility to a public place.

“By guaranteeing that Rikers will never again be used for incarceration, we’re charting a new course forward for the Island and the people of New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re making good on our promise to close Rikers once and for all.”

The proposed mapping action does not open the door to development. Any future plans will require a new planning and public review process, including a separate approval for and environmental review process as necessary.

The infamous Rikers Island facility will be shuttered at the end of 2026 and inmates will be housed in four borough-based jails, including a controversial facility that will built in Kew Gardens. This plan was approved under a separate ULURP by the council in October despite all four community boards where the jails will be constructed rejecting it.

The plan’s success hinges on declining levels of incarceration.

The number of people currently in city jails is around 7,000, the lowest figure since the late 1970s. However, the new borough-based jails can only hold 3,444 inmates altogether. The Mayor’s Office said the City remains on course for a reduced jail population of no more than 3,300 by 2026 when Rikers closes.

The City is moving forward with planning for the four new jails. Last month, it sent out the first Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) to begin the process of selecting the Design-Build teams that will construct the jails.

One of the fist RFQs includes the creation of a new parking garage at the Queens site in Kew Gardens.

The new Kew Gardens jail will replace the decommissioned detention facility at 182-02 82nd Ave. It will rise 19 stories and house 886 inmates. It was reduced in size from the original plan, which called for a 27-story building with 1,437 inmates.

The shuttered Queens Detention Center will be replaced with a new jail (Photo: QueensPost)

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6 Comments

hart

Events like the Barnard murder are becoming routine, as De Blasio takes the city back to the good old days.

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BoroughJailShame

Kew Gardens is still fighting, only Briarwood and affected areas are fighting. Is Forest Hills or Rego Park helping? Don’t think so, far enough away from the jail. I wonder where could criminals go?! Multi million dollar mansions of Forest Hills Gadens and Rego, safe enough for you?

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BoroughJailShame

Did you show up the the polls this November? Y’all just voted Melinda Katz as Queens DA, she wants borough jails that are filled with hard core criminals next to schools and homes. She is for “justice reform” that puts other criminals charged with aggravated assault and secondary manslaughter on streets, judges not allowed to keep them in jail if they pose public safety threat. Think of everybody you voted into office who is supporting criminals and law breakers next time you are violated in your own home, get attacked randomly on the street, or train. Keep voting for the same people, expect different result? Lmao

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JailFail

Can’t wait for the new neighbors. If they’re anything like residents of the homeless shelter it should do wonders for the area. What a huge plus. All this diversity creating strength. Well done. Appease the most vocal not the most productive. Despite the augmented numbers showing times are great realistically we have spiraled down to the Dinkins era of NYC. We need change. Immediately.

1003
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