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Community Board 9 Votes Unanimously Against Borough Based Jail Plan

Community Members Against the Jail Plan at Community Board 9 Meeting (Photo: Meghan Sackman)

May 15, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

Community Board 9 voted unanimously against the Mayor’s borough based jail plan at last night’s monthly community board meeting.

The board voted 28-0 in support of a seven-page resolution that was fiercely critical of the plan. The resolution described the plan as a “travesty” and the entire process a “farce.”

The contentious plan involves closing Rikers Island and replacing it with four new jails, one in every borough except Staten Island, by 2027. The plan requires the sites to be rezoned–including the Kew Gardens facility–and last night’s vote was part of the ULURP process.

“From the beginning, this administration has been a steamroller; the so-called neighborhood advisory meetings have been a farce,” the resolution states. “The need for community involvement has been consistently ignored by the City.”

The resolution said the plan was “fiscally irresponsible,” noting that it would cost about $30 billion to finance it, at a time when NYCHA Public housing desperately needs funding and there are more than 60,000 homeless.

The resolution noted that the city failed to look at other potential sites in Queens and that it needs to address the culture of violence at Rikers Island, which is the underlying problem.

It said that a jail does not belong in residential communities and that the city should rebuild Rikers Island.

“We are told that Rikers’ buildings are in terrible physical shape and its culture is one of violence. We are told that even if brand-new buildings are built, that Rikers is isolated and difficult to reach. Yet that is the simplest problem to solve–add a stop on the ferry which already passes Rikers; even weekly taxi vouches for friends…It is the culture of violence which really needs to be changed.”

The resolution states that the plan should be thrown out and recreated with more consideration and input from communities.

“While CB9 recognizes the need for prison reform, we believe the City’s borough-based jail plans are inexplicably rushed and ill-considered. A fiscally responsible plan should be created that reflects an honest, complete evaluation of justice reform,” the resolution states.

The vote came after months of protests, including a rally at borough hall, a contentious town hall meeting in April, and a community board vote in March telling the City Planning Commission not to certify the borough-based plan that kicked off the ULURP process.

Kew Gardens Facility (Source: City, March 22 Plan)

However, the plan does have supporters, who argue that the borough-based jails will be more accessible to inmates’ families as well as prison staff. Furthermore, some argue that it will make the Department of Corrections more accountable, since the jails are not out of sight and forgotten like on Rikers.

The next step for the plan, as part of the ULURP process, involves the input of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. She is required to make a non-binding recommendation within 30 days, after holding a public hearing.

The City Planning Commission will then have 60 days to host a public hearing, make some modifications and vote on the plan. The commission will have to explain why it rejected the views of the community board if it votes in favor of de Blasio’s plan.

The City Council will then have 50 days to review it and vote.

CB9 Resolution Opposing Borough-Based Jails – Letterhead by Queens Post on Scribd

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7 Comments

Sarah Ferstendig

Building new prisons should be replaced by a mentorship program by General Contractors for currently residing prisoners. This presents an excellent opportunity to teach highly employable skills. The lack of employable skills may have driven many inmates to a life of crime in the first place. The public schools are not teaching skills that can earn students a livable wage. Seems as if the Democratic Party agenda is to push public assistance and a non-productive college experience on all students without examining the long term repercussions of such policies.

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Queens Resident

Thank you CB9 for really hearing the community. Mayor forcing this on Kew Gardens and Briarwood residents is pure dictatorship. Kozlowitz betrayed her constituents. Every day you hear about more violent crimes. Criminals are having a free for all not being punished and treated better then law abiding citizens due to decriminalization per mayors instructions. Since the homeless shelter Kew Gardens definitely not the same, many businesses closed. Residents paid a premium to be in a safe Kew Gardens. Now it’s being devalued by the communist dictator deBlasio and his fake progressive ideas. Where is the millions he and his wife stole from us taxpayers? How is he not in jail yet? Address the culture at Rikers and modernize the facility at Rikers. Address residents concerns and fix NYCHA and MTA, support teachers and fund schools. New jails in boroughs is not what mayor and his office should be spending billions of OUR dollars for.

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Sara Ross

Why doesn’t the Forest Hills Community Board fight to stop those ugly buildings going up on Jewel Avenue and surrounding areas? I’d like to put DOM Broker out of business! They’re selling to people who have more security cameras than Fort Knox! The buildings are ugly and have destroyed the neighborhood, along with the fat ugly villagers who are always in black. The men/women also drive luxury cars with PA and FL plates on them.

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Bernadette Barrett

This prison they are proposing, one mention is to make it more convenient for family members of prisoners. How about NOTmaking it inconvenient for the comunity? This is ridiculous. COMUNITY FIRST BEFORE CRIMINALS.

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Kew Gardens Resident

And nowhere to be seen or heard is Karen Koslowitz. She has truly betrayed the Kew Gardens community. This should have been a no-brainer, stand up and fight for your constituents. Instead she has the audacity to lie to us and tell us that she wants to be able to shape the project. So how is that going? Well the Kew Gardens Jail is the biggest one. It has the entire female population and some sort of medical center for all the jails (Why Staten Island doesn’t get a jail, putting it’s burden on us is another mytery). What did Koslowitz get for betraying us? Perhaps some journalists can find out.
Thanks Karen for bringing us the Karen Koslowitz Jail Complex

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That Guy

That’ll teach ’em.

Now everyone in that meeting can go back to sleep and vote Dem in the next election.

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james

Thank you Community Board 9!
And thank you Mr. Quinn from the DA’s office!
Melinda Katz MUST recuse herself. She seemed to stop working for our community long ago. Something strange going on. She took $$ from developers for her da campaign. Also, she announced she was for the Rikers closing long ago. She stayed away from the Amazon deal, which would have been a huge boost for everyone in Queens. Citi left Queens, on her watch. And took a thousand jobs out of the borough.
Katz has no business being involved in this.
Thank you again, Board 9, and Mr. Quinn.

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