You are reading

New Yorkers Support Mayor’s Borough Based Jail Plan: Poll

Kew Gardens Jail Rendering (Presentation from the Mayor’s Office)

May 16, 2019 By Christian Murray (Updated)

A new poll says that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support the Mayor’s borough-based jail plan, results  that are in stark contrast to the two community boards that have voted on the controversial plan so far.

The poll, based on the response of 601 registered voters between April 19-25, found that 59 percent supported closing the Rikers Island jail facilities and opening borough-based jails, with 22 percent voicing strong support.

The contentious plan involves closing Rikers and replacing it with four new jails, one in each borough except Staten Island, by 2027. The plan requires all four sites to be rezoned–including the proposed Kew Gardens facility, which would be 27-stories tall and house about 1,400 inmates.

The survey results, released today by the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, come just two days after Community Board 9 in Kew Gardens unanimously voted down the proposal. Community Board 1 in Brooklyn voted against it on May 8, according to reports.

The community boards in Manhattan and the Bronx have yet to vote on it.

The poll found that 70 percent of respondents believe that family members should be detained at “a borough-based correctional facility located near their families, lawyers and courts,” instead of at Rikers Island, viewed as being in an isolated area.

Jonathan Lippman, chair of the independent commission and the author of a study calling for borough-based jails, said “the results of this poll are just the latest evidence that New Yorkers understand and support the plan to end Rikers and establish a smaller jail system in the boroughs.”

Lippman’s report, titled A More Just New York, became the blueprint for the new jail plan.

“As the City’s plan for borough-based facilities makes its way through the land use process, it’s critical that decision-makers – the community boards, borough presidents, and city council members – understand that New Yorkers back the plan to finally make closing Rikers and transforming our criminal justice system a reality.”

Council Member Karen Koslowitz, who represents Kew Gardens, supports the plan. She argues that the Mayor’s plan is essentially a done deal. She has said that by supporting it, she can play a role in shaping it.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced Wednesday that she is opposed to the plan.

“The Community Board’s opinion has been made loud and clear,” Katz said, reported the Queens Chronicle. “While I look forward to holding a public hearing on the matter, I do not foresee a scenario in which I would vote in favor of this proposal,” she said.

The survey was conducted after the respondents were provided with the following information:

The City has put forth a plan to close the Rikers Island jails and replace them with a system of four borough-based facilities designed to hold a smaller jail population. The City has already reduced the jail population by almost 2,000 people over the last 2 years and has committed to further reducing the population safely via various reforms.

Supporters of the plan say Rikers Island is in terrible condition, excessively isolated, unfit for use and must close. New facilities would be close to families, lawyers and the courts and would include a modern design, providing space for education, health care and reentry planning. The smaller system would also result in long-term cost savings.

Opponents of the plan say that the proposed borough-based jails are too big and do not fit the character of the surrounding neighborhoods, will bring congestion, and would cost too much money to build.

They were then asked:

After learning this new information, would you say that you agree more with SUPPORTERS or OPPONENTS of closing Rikers Island jail?

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 
M. How

The only people in favor of borough jails are those who can afford the proposed new condominiums for Rikers Island. In effect, these new condos will be a gated community keeping the riff raff away from their doors while diverting riff raff traffic toward the boroughs. And, the people who will get bonuses for promoting these jails are the politicians who want them. And, these politicians (Koslowitz, Duhblazio, et al) will get to line their bank accounts with “donations” from these real estate developers for their future elections. It’s all crooked. If they can afford to build jails then why can’t they afford to build affordable housing for those who pay taxes and obey the laws? Coddling jailbirds and enriching politicians is not what we pay taxes for.

You'd never support a politician lining their pockets right?

Various Trump properties banked at least $720,000 from Trump’s own campaign events.

After the election, Mar-a-Lago doubled its membership fees to $200,000 before taxes. Executives from 50 government contractors and 21 lobbyists hold memberships at Trump clubs.

Secret Service golf-cart rentals alone cost taxpayers $137,000 in nine months.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) spent over $300,000 at Trump properties in 2016 and 2017.

…should I go on? You’d never support him I assume, unless you’re a giant hypocrite.


Who was polled and when or where was the poll conducted? I certainly was not and no one I know was polled. I am not sure how large the sample group was but I have to imagine the margin of error on this will be greater than 6% making it invalid and not a proper survey.


Fake news. Fix what is already built. No One wants jails in their community. This report is lies.

Richie Staubach

This article cites a report which doesn’t appear anywhere on the Commission’s website – but that site is citing this publication as the source. Where is it? It probably means to say that 70% of the Mayor’s office supports the plan, none of whom live anywhere near the jails.


It’s ok for the City to make your kid take 4 buses to get to high school 2 boroughs away, or for you have a 2 hour commute to work without leaving the borough. But it’s not ok to make families travel to Rikers to visit their jailbird kin. Got it.

More lies

Poll question was biased any, 7th grader could have told you that.

If the question was asked do you support these facilities in your neighborhood I’m sure the results would have been different.


Young families and elderly live in this community which is already overrun by expensive hotel owned homeless shelter. I doubt that any prison population families live in Kew Gardens. This development belongs over by the courthouses in Jamaica.

Bernadette Barrett

What area r these New Yorkers from who r supporting this so called Mayor’s plan to close Rikers and open Jails in neighborhoods with private homes, schools etc. I’m sure they do not live in these communities.

One tired person

In favor only until they are going to put them in their neighborhood! Their complaints are not about the character change in the neighborhoods, it is about safety. Once again DeBlasio and his cronies have the fix in and will do whatever he wants to destroy our neighborhoods because he thinks he is moving to DC. He should step down.


And we know that polls are always accurate.
I doubt if anyone wants the city to spend billions and billions of dollars on new jails, instead of programs for low income youth pull out of poverty and avoid pitfalls that could lead to incarceration.
The new jail plans are haphazard and rife with errors.
We would just be replicating Rikers all over the city.

Mara Einstein, PhD

“New Yorkers” do NOT support these borough-based jails–not criminal justice reformers or corrections officers or the groups who work with inmates. I sat in meetings about these jails since August and they only people that support it are the Mayor and members of his office.

As for the “research,” my freshmen would know that that was a bogus survey.

J. Hetzron

These poll results are highly questionable. It was conducted by the very commission pushing to close Rikers and while cast as independent seems to have a biased tilt. I would suggest that a true poll would require a significantly higher sampling, especially of those who are much closer to the proposed sites.


Instead of building new community based jails , which they say would be closer to courts, let them move the courthouses closer to riker’s island. Mayor, you are destroying our residential neighborhood. Thank you, Melinda Katz for opposing this project. Karen Kozlowitz, I’m afraid you are in disconnect with Kew Gardens residents needs. No one supports this deal. !!!!


Then by all means put the jails in THEIR communities, where they are welcome. Kew Gardens does not want a jail of Rikers inmates. So why is the Mayor forcing it there – since 0ther areas are clamoring for them?

We're not stupid

Jonathan Lippman is full of it. What was the response when asked if they would oppose this type of facility in their neighborhood? I bet you didn’t ask that or didn’t publish the results.

Els Landsbergis

This poll is not accurate, although it sounds good in theory; very few people want a jail in their neighborhood. Which is one reason we have them on islands.

In addition, the neighborhood has serious overcrowding in schools. I live in north Richmond Hill/Kew Gardens on 116th just off Metropolitan, and both PS90 and PS56, are seriously overcrowded; and neither has a library, just library carts. In addition, many classrooms are outside in trailers.

Also, the area already has a lot of traffic by the Union Turnpike train station, near where the jail would go.

The incarceration rate in the United States is one of the highest in the world; let’s reassess, how to have fewer people in jail, and kept jails away from local neighborhoods, and build new schools instead.

Stop lying

Biased question is biased.

The proponent question basically promises rainbows and unicorns, the the opponents side makes them sound like a bunch of cranky old farts.

That Guy

Opponents of the plan also state the city is corrupt, cant get out of it’s own way and the current mayor is a dope.
Now who do you agree with?


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Five Queens startups win $20,000 each in 2024 Tech + Innovation Challenge

May. 19, 2024 By Czarinna Andres

A diverse range of businesses, including a yoga studio, an olive oil distributor, a female health care provider, a sustainable mushroom farmer, and an AI-powered physical therapy service, have been named winners of the 2024 Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC). Each winner will receive a $20,000 grant to support their business operations.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.